I am running the London Marathon on 26 April to raise money for Asylum Welcome. This is the first and only time I have run for a charity. I am supporting Asylum Welcome because they are an Oxford-based charity doing great work for refugees and asylum seekers in the local community. Among the amazing things they do:
-Every unaccompanied child arriving in Oxfordshire is referred to them. They look after over 100.
-They run a food bank that last year had over 1000 visits.
-They teach people English so they can be more independent.
-They work closely with lawyers to support access to rights.
-They support refugee voices nationally, campaigning against the expansion of government detention practices.
As the Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, I am proud to support their work. The London Marathon is a week before the UK general election, and a major focus is asylum and immigration. I want to use this race as a chance to symbolically highlight the importance of refugee rights within our community.
I will be also be running for the Oxford University Varsity team with London also being the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Marathon. Last year I ran three marathons: London (2:58), Copenhagen (2:56), and Frankfurt (2:52). This year my target is 2:45. My training has gone well and in March I finished my last training race - the Silverstone Half Marathon - in 1:17 to finish in 14th place out of around 7000 runners.
Even if you can only contribute symbolically, please do, and if you can't please tell your friends about this! I am aiming to raise as much as I can, and in particular to raise the profile of refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford in the run-up to the general election.