Connect with us

London Marathon 2023: Running saved me again, says Rwanda victim


London Marathon 2023: Running saved me again, says Rwanda victim


runner who survived the Rwandan genocide by hiding underneath his father and then lived on the streets of London for a year will run the marathon for the second time as a tribute to the charity which transformed and possibly saved his life.

Claude Umuhire, 31, now helps homeless young people in the capital through his work at the Running Charity, which took him off the streets more than a decade ago. He came to London aged 10 after his father and two brothers were killed, his life saved only by his father’s selfless act.

“I went through the whole ordeal of losing most of my family — it wasn’t the best of starts to life,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be with my dad when we were taken to the killing fields. He laid on top of me so I didn’t get harmed.

“I do remember it very well but, because of my lack of understanding being so young, I am able to look back on it and not have any fear attached it. For someone like my mum, those scars are mentally much deeper.”

Relocated to Britain, he went on to study at university but fell out of love with his studies, which led to a family row and resulted in him being homeless for nearly a year, during which time he turned to drink and drugs.

“Growing up in London, I’ve always seen homelessness but never imagined I would be homeless myself,” he said. “I felt like I lost control of my life. I looked for ways to escape my reality. That involved experimenting with drugs and anything that would help me forget even for an hour.”

A chance encounter with Running Charity co-founders Alex Eagle and James Gilley, who started the charity after London 2012, helped him off the streets through running. “I remember after my first run thinking running’s not for me and I’m going to quit,” he said, “but they gave me the tools to make sure I stayed on the right path.”

He regularly runs with youngsters to help transform their lives, Prince Harry joining him one outing. Umuhire added: “Running is the way I’ve grounded myself throughout my difficulties. I always have running to fall back on.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in London

To Top