Toronto man finishes Boston Marathon after victory against Trump travel ban

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Toronto man finishes Boston Marathon after victory against Trump travel ban

A Toronto runner who got Canadian citizenship to ensure he could enter the U.S. despite a travel ban finished the Boston Marathon on Monday in under three hours. 

For Soroush Hatami, it has been a long, frustrating journey. Born in Iran, Hatami emigrated from Iran to Toronto in 2013 and became a Canadian citizen in March. 

He completed the marathon in 02:57:48.

"It's a rainy, windy day," Hatami told CBC's Metro Morning on Monday before the race began in Boston.

"Everyone looks ready. You can feel the energy and the vibe in the whole area. Everyone is cheering us. Everyone is shaking hands. The buses are lining up to pick us up."

Hatami said he hopes his marathon run will help to raise awareness about the travel ban issued by U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the travel ban case on April 25. 

Hatami called the ban "discriminatory" and an executive order that has created problems for many people.

Under the latest version of the travel ban, citizens of certain countries, including Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, face restrictions when trying to enter the U.S. Citizens of those countries are barred from getting visas that would allow them to go to the U.S. permanently as immigrants.

Hatami qualified for the Boston Marathon in October 2017, but initially, he was banned from entering the U.S. because of his Iranian citizenship.

Now, with his Canadian passport, he says he is "so happy" he was able to run in the marathon, but he said the race is a fight about a larger issue.

Hatami and his friend Daniel Sellers have created Banned on the Run — a website and fundraising effort that aim to raise about $26,000 US to fight the travel ban. A total of $6,536.60 US has been raised so far.

"To be able to be here, I went through lots of difficulties. This campaign, Banned on the Run ... this is my Boston," he said.