Portsmouth’s jogging community unites for 5k in remembrance of murdered runner Ashling Murphy

JOGGERS were out in their droves on Friday night as they ran in remembrance of a 23-year-old music teacher who was murdered in Ireland last week.

Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 11:34 am

Several vigils have been held in memory of Ashling Murphy, who was killed while running by a canal outside Tullamore, County Offaly.

Members of jogging clubs across the Portsmouth area met at Speakers Corners on Southsea seafront to pay their respects with a two minute silence and a memorial 5k run.

Tony Quinn, 55, from North End, is the chairman of Portsmouth Joggers.

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The start of the Portsmouth Joggers run in memory of Ashling. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)

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In a speech he gave before the two-minute silence, Tony said: ‘Tonight is about the opportunity for the running community to come together for quiet reflection on the tragic events in Ireland where Ashling Murphy’s young life was taken away so cruelly.

‘We are connected through our common pursuit of running but also by the sense of loss for a young life lost.

‘We wanted to unite the running community in Portsmouth and have the chance to pay our own respects and remember a young woman whose life has touched all of ours.

Lisa Fawcett, mental health ambassador for Portsmouth Joggers. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)

‘We should all be able to ‘go for a run’ without having to look over our shoulder’.

The evening served as a reminder of the dangers that female runners can face, but drove home the message that everyone should be free to run without fear.

The run is the brainchild of Lisa Fawcett, mental health ambassador for the Portsmouth Joggers.

Runners on the memorial 5k. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)

Lisa, a 48-year-old Lovedean resident, said: ‘As a female, it can put you on edge, especially dark nights like tonight. I just thought it would be nice to do something as a company.

‘You don’t know what’s around the corner – you don’t know what’s going to happen.

‘Don’t give up, and buddy up with someone. There’s plenty of runners groups – we keep in close proximity and look out for each other.’

Tony’s son Callum performed music on his double bass before the two-minute silence.

Pictures of Ashling with a candle at the run starting point. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)

Callum is a 23-year-old music teacher, just as Ashling was.

Tony said: ‘It hits home a little bit.’

The Portsmouth Joggers were joined by park runners and members of Baffins Fit Club and Gosport Road Runners as they ran along the seafront before turning at the beach huts just after the Yomper statue at Eastney.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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Runners were out in force in memory of Ashling. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)
‘We should all be able to ‘go for a run’ without having to look over our shoulder’ was the message of the evening. Picture: Mike Cooter (210122)