I’m Running With Refugees’

UK for UNHCR meets long-time supporter and Running With Refugees founder Emma Manton. 

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© Emma Manton

UK for UNHCR supporter Emma Manton has finished yet another London Marathon to help refugees around the world… 

While Emma has been clocking some serious mileage through her many challenges, she didn’t always find running so easy.  

When Emma Manton joined a friend for a short jog in 2014, it would start a chain of events that would end up changing her life. Disappointed by her performance after having to walk some of the distance, Emma felt she had to do something about it, and embarked on a fitness journey. 


In the summer of 2015, Emma watched with horror as footage started to surface of people fleeing Syria and making desperate journeys across the Mediterranean. Emma recalls how the media was filled with images of the bodies of those people who hadn’t made it across, and the devastating images of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose body washed ashore on a beach in Turkey. With this heartbreaking image forever etched into her memory, supporting people forced to flee was a cause Emma knew she could get behind. 

“He was the same age as my son at the time – that image hit me in a way that all the other news stories hadn’t. And I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way – I think it was the moment for a lot of people.” 

Motivated by the heart wrenching images she had seen in the media, Emma decided to put her training to the test and ran the London Marathon in 2016, raising over £17,000 for UNHCR. Since then, Emma has worked tirelessly to support those forced to flee, including launching Running With Refugees, a virtual marathon and charitable fundraiser which has taken place every year since its inception in 2017. 

Despite being disappointed of her running performance at first, Emma admits she’s caught the ‘marathon bug’ and supported UK for UNHCR again this year by taking part in the London Marathon. She says that: 

“I’ve been running with refugees since 2016 and I was the only UNHCR runner that year, so this time I’ve got a whole team!” 

You can still support Emma’s amazing challenge by visiting her JustGiving page.  

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