Former Iran captive Anoosheh Ashoori says he's training to run London Marathon

Former Iran captive Anoosheh Ashoori says he's training to run London Marathon
The 68-year-old said he had set himself the goal of running the famous marathon while held at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.
2 min read
25 August, 2022
Anoosheh Ansoori (right) was released from Iranian detention earlier this year [Leon Neal/Pool/AFP via Getty]

A British-Iranian national recently released after five years in a Tehran jail has said he will run this October's London Marathon, to fulfill a goal he set himself while in detention.

Anoosheh Ashoori - who is 68 years old - is training for the gruelling 26.2-mile race through the British capital, he told The Guardian.

Ashoori was detained in Iran in 2017, on spying charges that he repeatedly denied. He was sentenced in September 2018 to a total of twelve years in jail and held at the notorious Evin prison.

The dual national was released early, at the same time as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in March of this year, after the UK agreed to pay a long-standing $400 million debt it owed Tehran.

Ashoori said two books read during his time in captivity inspire him to run the race - one was 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running', a book by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami lent to him by a fellow inmate; the other was a smuggled copy of 'Man’s Search for Meaning' by Austrian Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl.

"Putting the two [books] together, I had the physical reason, and now the purpose. It made me think: 'OK, if I’m going to run the London Marathon, let something good come out of it'," he told the British daily.

The retired engineer previously told The New Arab of his wish to run the iconic race, and said that he had ran around a small prison yard with other inmates during his detention.

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Ashoori said he will run the race for himself and to fundraise for Hostage International and Amnesty International, two organisations he said played a major part in his release.

During his detention, the organisations urged the British government to do more to secure Ashoori's release. Ashoori said the two NGOs continue to help him as he adjusts to life back home.