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Sports Programs

International Children's Day Marathon Near Moscow

Moscow, Russia - A team of young Russian athletes ran a 1151-kilometer super-marathon through the cities of the Golden Ring from June 1 to 12. They were participating in the “Children against Drugs: I Choose Sports!” activity celebrating the International Children's Day.

The starting line was the zero kilometer mark near Historical Museum, and the runners took off in the direction of the Golden Ring. Participants were 30 young sportsmen from ages 10 to 17 as well as professionals in track and field, tennis, and basketball.

While a standard marathon course is about 42 kilometers, a super-marathon is an endurance race that covers a much longer distance, often lasting a number of days.

Along the route they stopped in 50 towns. Everywhere the athletes were welcomed by local administrators, children, teenagers, and veterans. There were official ceremonies in the key cities of Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, Rostov, Tutayev, Myshkin, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanov, Vladimir, and Suzdal.

This ring of cities northeast of Moscow preserve the memory of the most significant events in Russian history. They have been called open-air museums and feature unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th through the 18th centuries, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals, and churches.

Meetings and concerts were held to promote an athletic lifestyle and focus public attention on sports as an alternative to drugs and juvenile delinquency.

“They did the marathon by the so called watch-stand method,” explained Sergey Suprunyuk, vice-president of the National Peace Council. "When a runner got tired, he could take a rest in a bus that was following the runners. After relaxing and eating a snack, he resumed running.”

The experience made a big impact on the young athletes. “I have experience participating in such marathons," said 10-year-old Arseny from Krasnogorsk in the Moscow region. "Only those times I ran together with my dad. Now I’m running with my friends. I like it very much that the marathon gives us the opportunity to meet interesting people and see new places.”

“It’s great that I managed to become a participant in the super-marathon," said 12-year-old Vlad from Electrostal in the Moscow region. "I want to gain good results in running and meet new friends."

A solemn closing ceremony of the marathon took place on June 12, the Russia Independence Day, in Manezhnaya Square. It was a part of the “Kremlin Mile” sports festival.

Organizers of the marathon included the International Peace Federation (Russian branch), Russian National Peace Council, the international Super-marathon Association, the All-Russia Federation for Track and Field, the Federal Drug Control Service, the Modern Humanitarian Academy, the Sports against Drugs Charitable Foundation. Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky, chairman of the Russian National Peace Council, addressed the athletes at the start of the marathon.

The International Children's Day, celebrated every year on June 1, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954 to encourage all countries to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.

The marathon was covered by the Vechernyaya Moskva newspaper. For more information about the cities on the Golden Ring, click here.

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