‘I have a body made for cheese and wine, not running,’ says Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). For people who’ve never met Kon in person this might come as a surprise – the person that started Run 4 Refugees in Australia isn’t a runner? It doesn’t make sense! But strange as it seems, it’s true. In fact, according to Kon, he only runs once a year – on the day of the Run 4 Refugees.
Kon started Run 4 Refugees ten years ago when he decided to run a half marathon, mostly as a personal challenge to see if he could do it. He says that he wanted ‘to make sure that he didn’t pike’ – that he went through with the whole 21.1km of it – so he decided to ask people to sponsor him. Not only would it force him to run, but it would be a great way to raise funds for the ASRC.
He realised then that if he could be inspired to do a half marathon for a good cause, other people could be too. At the very least, they might be inspired to donate. And so Kon put the call out and asked others to join him in his ‘Run for Refugees’. In that first year, he raised over $25,000 for the ASRC.
He describes the run as a blur.
A mix of sheer adrenaline, excitement and fear followed by the biggest high when I crossed the line in one hour and fifty-five minutes… I was just filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and joy.
Since that first run, Kon has participated in the Run 4 Refugees eight times and raised around $200,000 for the ASRC. The event itself has raised over $1 million dollars since its inception in 2007, and has become one of the biggest ASRC fundraising campaigns of the year.
For Kon, the best part of the event is;
the joy of running with hundreds of other passionate ASRC supporters and seeing a sea of our T-shirts with messages of welcome to refugees…’though he also has a lot of fun wearing a different outfit each year.
His favourite costume to date was when he dressed up as Scott Morrison’s missing heart.
This year, Kon’s hoping to create a costume tribute to Peter Dutton: ‘an outfit stitched together from potato sacks.’ He aims to raise at least $10,000 – money which has never been more necessary as more and more people are forced to seek assistance from the ASRC in the face of the government’s unfair treatment of people seeking asylum and refugees.
Kon will be running with a team this year and everyone’s invited to join!
It’s simple really, just register with the Melbourne Marathon at www.melbournemarathon.com.au and choose ‘ASRC – Run 4 Refugees (Gumley)’ as your team.
Once you have your fundraising page set up, head over to Kon’s page and and click ‘Join team’.
Of course, you’re more than welcome to run as an individual or even to start your own team!
If you’re not much of a runner, have no fear! You can still participate by sponsoring Kon and his team. Every dollar is truly appreciated!
Kon’s tips for novice Run4Refugee runners?
‘Vaseline on your feet will save you from blisters! Put it on your thighs and anywhere else that is sensitive for you when you run too.
Good socks, loose and comfortable shorts and decent runners are a must.
And carb like crazy the week before! It’s the one time you must eat pasta, pizza, chips and lollies. Just go easy the morning of the run – stick to fruit and light foods.
Go at a pace that you are comfortable with and believe in yourself and you will make it!’
Run 4 Refugees is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s (ASRC) flagship community fundraising event. Whether you run, walk, skip or jog in one of five event distances – you will be championing hope and empowering people seeking asylum.
In 2017 Run 4 Refugees celebrates it’s 10th anniversary and since 2007, has raised almost $1 million to support the ASRC’s frontline programs and services. So what are you waiting for? Join #TeamASRC today! Head to asrc.org.au/run4refugeesLeave a reply →