FIVE runners from some of the world’s most dangerous regions will line up on the New Swindon Half Marathon next week.

The joggers – all in their late twenties – battled their way to Britain from war-torn Sudan, Iraq and Iran.

Next weekend the quintet will run as part of a ten-strong team from Swindon’s Harbour Project.

The Broadgreen-based charity supports refugees and asylum seekers who have ended up in Swindon from all corners of the globe.

Swindon is one of four “dispersal” towns in the south west, with refugees housed in the town while their asylum claims are processed. While they are here, the refugees have just £5 a day on which to live.

Staff and volunteers at the Harbour Project help them navigate the asylum system and offer classes in English, computing and other subjects.

This year is the first time the charity has entered a team into the Swindon Half Marathon, which returns on Sunday with a brand new route. The runners are hoping to raise £2,000 for the charity. They have already raised £800.

Entering the race was the idea of Claire Garrett, a Harbour Project trustee who has volunteered for the charity for over two years.

Claire, 53, who has previously raced in the London Marathon, said: “I’m full of admiration for them. They’re very fast. I think our five visitors will do the 13 miles in less than an hour and a half. We’ll get in the first 50 runners.

“They run like gazelles – they just skip along. They keep saying, ‘What time do I need to win?’”

The team, which consists of three runners from the Sudan, one from Iraq, another from Iran and five Harbour volunteers, have been training hard over the summer.

Weekly training runs have seen them jog around some of Swindon’s beauty spots, including Wroughton, Coate Water and Barbury Castle.

One of the team’s runners, Omer, who fled his home country of Iran, lost much of his sight in a landmine explosion when he was a teen.

“We were out one day beyond Wroughton,” said Claire. “It had rained for about two hours and Omer had to take his glasses off to run. We were running down this slippery slope and another guy had to shout directions to Omer.”

Claire has got team members new trainers, specially fitted at Old Town store Run Swindon. She said: “I was determined that if people ran for Harbour we needed to kit them out.”

Claire used to work as a director at BT – leading teams working across the world before leaving two years ago.

“I feel like I’ve traded one international team for another,” she said. “The only thing that these guys have in common is being asylum seekers or refugees. Their stories are all so different. They come from different countries and from different backgrounds.

“I’m full of admiration for them.”

To donate to the Harbour Project run, visit: