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"Hundreds of citizens of Ukraine participate in a run in Kyiv to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict."
Europe Ukraine

“Hundreds of citizens of Ukraine participate in a run in Kyiv to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict.”

On Sunday, approximately 2,000 individuals from Ukraine participated in a one-kilometer race in Kyiv. Instead of numbers, their bibs displayed the names of individuals.

Each participant in the race selected an individual to honor with their run. This could be a spouse, child, friend, sibling, neighbor, or colleague who had been killed, captured, or injured in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The runners were encouraged by the crowd, and there were tears among the audience as they waited for the participants to cross the finish line. Amidst the energetic atmosphere of Ukrainian music, happiness and sadness intertwined in the air, as life continued despite the ongoing war.

The event coordinators dubbed it the “World’s Longest Marathon” due to the fact that no other race has endured as long as Ukraine’s ongoing struggle for independence.

Approximately 13,000 individuals from different parts of the globe signed up for the event. Participants who were participating remotely had the freedom to choose their preferred distance and were encouraged to share their experience on social media.

The race was hosted by Nova Post, Ukraine’s most prominent private delivery company, with the dual purpose of honoring the defenders and raising funds to bolster Ukraine’s air defense system.

The project description expressed gratitude and encouragement for our defenders, doctors, rescuers, sappers, and volunteers – the determined and enduring individuals who tirelessly work for the benefit of everyone.

According to Inna Popereshniuk, co-founder of Nova Post, the company has distributed starter kits to 65 countries on every continent. She ran in honor of six coworkers who lost their lives and 17 others who were wounded in a Russian assault on the Nova Post storage facility in the Kharkiv region on October 21st.

Volodymyr Rutkovskyi, a 31-year-old veteran, completed the course walking. In mid-June, he sustained a severe injury when a Russian projectile struck his right leg during Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia region.

After undergoing months of rehabilitation, he currently utilizes a prosthetic limb and took part in the occasion to honor two fallen companions, Zheka and Tykhyi, who lost their lives in eastern Ukraine.

“He expressed gratitude for their contributions to our nation, and expressed regret that they were not able to do even more while they were still alive,” he stated. “However, their efforts live on. We are committed to carrying on their legacy and honoring them.”

He reached the end of the race with his view blocked by the brim of a black Panama hat. He wore shorts while running, exposing his prosthetic leg.

He expressed, “I am at a loss for words to convey my emotions. Sadly, some of our fellow soldiers have lost their lives and I will never have the opportunity to greet them or spend time with them.”

However, as he participated, he reminded himself that the impact of these experiences lasts a lifetime. “We must also bear their burdens as we do our own,” Rutkovskyi emphasized.

A group of individuals traveled from different cities to the capital in order to take part in the race. Tetiana Boiko, who is 24 years old, journeyed from the western Ternopil region to Kyiv.

“I want to express my appreciation to all those who have served and are currently serving our country. This gesture reflects our concern for current events,” she clarified.

The label on her bib displayed the name of Volodymyr Semanyshyn, a fellow resident of her hometown who was injured when a drone he was attaching an explosive to unexpectedly detonated, causing him to lose his arms.

Boiko stated that there are numerous young men from his town who are eligible candidates for this competition. However, he feels that one particular individual needs support at this moment. He wishes to spread this message to all kind-hearted individuals and encourage them to participate in fundraising efforts.

Boiko is bringing awareness to Semanyshyn’s situation because his parents, who are elderly, are unable to pay for the costly rehabilitation that he requires.

She had been wanting to join a marathon for a long time, and this was the race where she finally found the courage to enter.

She expressed, “My initial ‘marathon’ ended up being exceptionally meaningful. It showcases our empathy, and it’s the minimum we can offer.”