Guest writer and founder of the global campaign #RunningHome.ie, Aisling Demaison, shares her experience of starting the initiative, how it has developed and current projects including a raffle to win flights home to Ireland. From its humble beginnings on a run in rural France, RunningHome.ie now has over 800 runners around the world and has raised €15,000 for charities in Ireland. With a very active Strava group and other social media accounts, „Running Home“ has become a supportive community for Irish people (and others) at a time when many have never felt further away from home. Here, in her own words, Aisling describes the story of #runninghome.
Like so many of us I struggled with the lockdowns and being prevented from having my freedom to move when and where I wanted. Although I now live in France, the hardest part was and still is not being able to get home to see my family in Ireland. I always enjoyed running and during this period it really became my main source of mental and physical well-being. All the emotions during this period sparked an idea one day while running, that has now become the global campaign we now know as Runninghome.ie.
Runninghome.ie has over 800 runners from around the world
#Runninghome.ie is an initiative for Irish people abroad to run the distance from where they live now to their hometown in Ireland, while raising funds for homelessness in Ireland. Focus Ireland and The Peter McVerry Trust are our chosen charities. The yearlong campaign continues until Dec 31st 2021, and is as much about solidarity for Irish abroad as it is about creating positive actions for those who needs homes in Ireland. Since we started on Feb 1st we have raised almost €15,000 and have over 800 runners from around the world.
Runninghome.ie has become a success because of all the people who believed in it, all those who have become part of the team, invested their energy and their emotions about missing home. We’ve become a family of Irish people abroad that all miss home so much, that long to hug our families and simply sit around the kitchen table drinking tea again. But need to wait until it’s safe to do so. Until then we’re running home and supporting each other doing it.
Our RunningHome family welcomed Irish legend Sonia O’ Sullivan as an ambassador from early on in the campaign. Sonia’s belief in what we stand for and her commitment to the campaign has meant so much. Aerlingus then became our sponsor and Irish businesses such as Irishify and MyIrelandbox our partners. The family continues to get bigger as runners join us each day from all around the world.
Cologne Celtics GAA are a big part of the RunningHome family and each of the members involved have given so much time, commitment and support to the entire campaign. They’ve really shown us how to be a team and we’re very grateful to them for that.
Stephen O’ Rourke has become a member of the Runninghome.ie committee along with runners from around the world. He now leads our ‘puck the path’ campaign for GAA teams across the world to become part of Runninghome.ie, challenging another GAA team to take the baton after them. Just as Cologne Celtics have now done with Stuttgart GAA accepting their challenge. We can’t wait to see where the journey takes them as a team.
Our most recent and most exciting Green RunningHome campaign launched on Earth Day, April 22nd 2021. On our social media channels our runners get weekly tips on ‘how to green their run’ .
As well as this, there is an opportunity to win flights home to Ireland, kindly donated from our sponsor Aer Lingus.
The raffle will take place on June 8th Ocean’s Day. The best bit is that we have partnered with grownforest.ie to offset all the carbon emissions from these flights by planting trees in Ireland!
We are working hard to make real homes a reality in a greener world!
Being a part of the #Runninghome.ie campaign is an incredibly exciting adventure. Every week is bringing new runners, new donations, and new ideas all based on the solidarity of Irish people abroad. The longing to get home has led us to create a positive impact for homelessness in Ireland.
My reality now is that I have been vaccinated and will be getting on a plane home this summer with my two boys who are so young that they don’t remember granny and grandad, or Ireland. It’s so hard to believe it’s really happening. I am excited but in a strange way I’m also anxious. So many emotions have been brewing inside for the last almost two years. In some ways Runninghome has been my outlet for those emotions and I’m truly grateful for all it has given me. As long as I’m abroad I will always continue to run home, as it will always be where my heart is.
If you would like to get involved, you can join the team at runninghome.ie
To donate: Idonate.ie/runninghome
To sign up as a runner go to the website: www.runninghome.ie
Strava Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/atRunningHome
Raffle Links to buy tickets: