‘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's not stopped running since!