Toronto runner continues U.S. travel ban awareness campaign

Toronto runner Soroush Hatami was joined by about 40 friends and well-wishers for a 37 km-run ahead of the April 16 Boston Marathon. Hatami almost missed out in participating in the big marathon because of Trump's travel ban.

Soroush Hatami was joined by about 40 friends for 37-km run at High Park

Toronto runner Soroush Hatami says he believes the U.S. travel ban will end. (James Morrison/CBC)

Toronto runner Soroush Hatami qualified for the upcoming Boston Marathon but almost missed out because of an executive order issued by United States President Donald Trump blocking citizens of several Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

On Sunday, Hatami was joined by about 40 friends and well-wishers for a 37 km-run — his longest training session for the April 16 marathon.

Hatami hopes his participation in the Boston Marathon will help raise awareness about the travel ban, which he's hopeful will end soon.

"It's not going to be easy, it takes time, but it will happen," he told CBC Toronto.

"I'm hoping this campaign helps people to talk about the travel ban and at some point hopefully the money we raise and other work that NGOs are doing [will] help to remove the travel ban."

Emigrated from Iran to Toronto

Hatami, 37, emigrated from Iran to Toronto in 2013. He received his Canadian citizenship earlier this month, paving the way for him to travel to the United States.

Inspired by his case, Hatami was joined by his friend Daniel Sellers in establishing Banned on the Run — a fundraising effort with an initial goal to raise $26,000 US.

Daniel Sellers helped his friend Soroush Hatami establish Banned on the Run. (James Morrison/CBC)

Sellers explained that the fundraising was not specifically to help Hatami, but rather to help other people who have "bigger problems" because of the ban.

"People have been separated from their families or lost their jobs. It's on-going, so we wanted to use Soroush's story as our inspiration to denounce the policy more widely," Sellers told CBC Toronto.

"It's pretty easy just to have an opinion about it and just shrug your shoulders and not do anything. We decided to do something."