The story of Abou Abdallah, the running champion refugee who is about to get deported

 

 

[Abou has just been freed, thanks everyone for helping]

Photo by Bomain Bouvren

A couple of months ago, in one of our weekly runs in the Parisian northeastern suburb (Jaures), someone special joined our team. A quiet man from Sudan who spoke no French and a little English but shook everyone’s hand with a smile, not asking for anything else than go running.

Little did we know at that time until later that he was a refugee who sleeped by the winter in street’s tents set by the Stalingrad area (see article about it here). His journey to France was not without dramas as you may imagine, he had crossed multiple times the Mediterranean Sea hiding in boats until getting to Paris.

Even if he had to move further away from our area in the northeast, he kept coming every Tuesday with us to run, always with the fastest group but he never once took the lead up front.

At first I thought it was because he was struggling with the pace but when we were asking, he never answered with something else than a smile and a “Yes no problem, I’m good, I’m good”. If I only knew that he was actually much much faster than every one of us combined.

A few months later, he did his first race picking up a bib at the last minute and won the 10k race in ~31m. Three weeks later, he did the same at the 10k of the “Course du Grand Paris” and won it even though he took a wrong turn multiple times.

Sadly, two days ago he was arrested for illegal stay on the French territory and he’s about to get deported away. We are trying to get as much signatures as possible on this change.org petition :

https://www.change.org/p/pr%C3%A9fecture-de-police-freeabu-c5b378b8-1bc4-4286-aae1-0bed7686f441

It would be great if we can have much signatures as possible here so we can build up the case with the lawyers.

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