A group of refugees who have recently arrived in Wales from Afghanistan were introduced to the world of mass-participation running at the ABP Newport Wales Marathon & 10K on Sunday, just two months after escaping the country from Kabul Airport.
Associated British Ports (ABP), the event’s title partner uses its relationship with the race as a vehicle to promote healthier lifestyles in the community and donated a total of 40 free spaces to a group of refugees who have recently settled in South Wales.
The group took part in the 10K and Family Mile races which both took place alongside the ABP Newport Wales Marathon on Sunday 24 October.
Of those who took on the 10K, some were keen runners back home whilst others were taking their first steps into the sport. Several enthusiastic families were able to run their fastest and totally free in the Family Mile, a stark contrast to life back home where some would be unable to attend school because of their gender.
One runner who took part commented: “We are delighted to be in Wales, and very grateful to have been made to feel so welcome. We have never had a chance to experience events like this before and are very grateful for the opportunity. We’re looking forward to getting settled in and being a contributing part of the community.”
Simon Brown, Divisional Port Manager for Wales & South West, at ABP, commented: “The ABP Newport Wales Marathon and 10K is much more than a run. It is a real community occasion. I am really pleased that our efforts in supporting the race are also providing positive opportunities for those who have suffered due to the situation in Afghanistan.”
Matt Newman, Chief Executive of Run 4 Wales, commented: “Sport is a great way to break down barriers and build friendships, proven by the warm welcome these refugees have received from the Welsh running community.
“It’s great to see an event like the ABP Newport Wales Marathon have a positive impact on a community in this way, which is why we’re so pleased to see the return of mass participation events in Wales following the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve been inspired by this story and a refugee family has resettled in your community, we’d encourage you to reach out and make them feel welcome and invite them to your local running or sports club.”
The 2021 ABP Newport Wales Marathon & 10K returned to the city after an eighteen-month delay. It was the largest mass-participation event to take place in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic, with a number of additional measures in place to ensure the safety of those taking part and prevent the spread of Coronavirus.