Ashling Murphy: Portsmouth Joggers Club to hold memorial run for murdered 23-year-old schoolteacher

Runners will gather in Portsmouth on Friday to remember a woman murdered while out exercising.

By Tom Morton
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 3:53 pm

Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old music teacher, was killed while out running last week by a canal outside Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland.

Her murder has shocked the UK and Ireland, with several vigils held. Running groups have also marked her death, and on Friday Portsmouth Joggers Club will meet to pay its respects with a two-minutre silence and memorial run. The evening is also aimed as a reminder of the dangers that female runners can face, with the club stressing that this ‘is not acceptable in our society and everyone should be free to run without being harassed or feel in fear’.

Tony Quinn is the chairman of Portsmouth Joggers and said all runners, whether in PJC, other clubs or unaffiliated, and at all levels, were invited to the event – which is far more about unity and solidarity than exercise of timings.

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Ashling Murphy Picture: Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann/PA Wire

He said: ‘The tragedy in Ireland is awful. This is not just about our club but about runners in general. Women should not have to worry about what route they take or how they dress. We want to bring the running community in Portsmouth together.’

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The memorial 5k run, which will be at 7pm on Friday, will start at Speakers Corner on the seafront. It will begin with a two-minute silence before a mass run, following the parkrun route towards Eastney and the Yomper statue.

Mr Quinn said: ‘It’s a quiet part of the seafront but it’s also the darker part of the seafront. We would encourage as many people as possible to come along, even if they walk, and be there for reflection.’

A photograph of Ashling Murphy among flowers and candles at a make-shift shrine during a vigil in her memory at Leinster House, Dublin on Friday Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

He added that Ashling was a 23-year-old music teacher, as is his son Callum, who is organising appropriate music for the event to aid reflection and commemoration.

Portsmouth Joggers has about 350 members and Mr Quinn said that it was very aware of safety issues. The club offers a running buddy scheme for people want to run but may not want to run in a big group, nor alone.

He said: ‘I can’t speak for women, but we have had some isolated cases of people reporting feeling unsafe when out running.’

Anyone who wants to attend the event on Friday can just turn up.