Family reunited after hostage ordeal complete the London Marathon
Since being wrongfully detained in Iran, Anoosheh Ashoori completed his second London Marathon on Sunday 23 April – this time accompanied by his two children
Just over a year after his release from being held captive in Iran, Anoosheh Ashoori has completed his second London Marathon at the age of 69. This time he was joined by his two children, Aryan and Elika. They were running to raise awareness and funds for Hostage International.
Running became a key part of Anoosheh’s survival during his nearly five years in Evin prison, and has continued to be a crucial part of his readjustment to life back home.
Speaking before the race, he said: “I still have moments when I can’t quite believe that I now have the freedom to run outside in open spaces, and when I feel like it – and this time my beloved kids are joining me for the Marathon.”
His training since his release is a far cry from his running in the confines of the 15 x 17 metre prison exercise space where he would run one way for 15 minutes before switching and running the other way for 15 minutes, working his way up to running for his full two hours of permitted exercise.
“Running helped keep me fit in body and mind back then, and it continues to help me now as I find meaning in the suffering that I, and my family, have been through.
“It was obviously a horrific time for all of us, but the problems for hostage families don’t disappear after release, which is why I’m running this London Marathon for Hostage International – who are always ready to support affected families.”
Anoosheh’s son Aryan explained: “I think a marathon is very similar to the process our family went through, in that it was based on a challenge of remaining patient and resilient in an extremely long and seemingly endless battle.
“The step-by-step nature of the run and the need to focus on the present moment is similar to the day-to-day coping mechanism that we developed throughout our quest for Anoosheh’s freedom.
“The only difference is that we can train and prepare for it this time.”
He added: “We can use this occasion to give back to those who supported us when all prospect of hope seemed bleak.
“Hostage International was the only organisation that connected to our situation on a deeply personal level, which is embedded at the charity’s core DNA through Terry Waite.
“The charity gave us every resource it had available, regardless of the nature of help we required.
“This support was invaluable to our family and we want to ensure that others can continue to access it if they need to.”
Anoosheh says: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, who remind me that despite all the suffering that we are witnessing around the world, humanity is not dead and there are millions of good people out there. Thank you for being a part of this force for good.”
To show your solidarity for Anoosheh, please donate here.