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Sports Programs

Russian Ultramarathon Follows Path of Patriots

Russia-2017-06-22-Russian Ultramarathon Follows Path of Patriots

St. Petersburg, Russia—Forty-four athletes, aged 6 to 78, ran from Moscow to St. Petersburg in the annual ultramarathon "Children against Drugs: I Choose Sport."

The athletes, who came from various regions of Russia and Belarus, ran under the scorching sun and pouring rain from June 11 to 22, 2017, covering about 1,000 kilometers (more than 621 miles).

For the second year this event has taken place within the framework of the “Peace Road” project of UPF.

The ultramarathon began on the Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow’s Victory Park on June 11. Sergey Suprunyuk, the chair of the association Ultramarathoners for a Healthy Lifestyle!, addressed the participants and those who came to see them off, explaining the project’s noble goals:

“Today we have gathered together in this Victory Park to once again prove to ourselves and everyone else that a healthy lifestyle, sports, healthy patriotism and love for our motherland are all interconnected, and we peacemakers can and should demonstrate by our example that it’s true. Ahead we have hundreds of kilometers to cover, meeting representatives of district and municipal authorities as well as public, children's and youth sports organizations, with whom we will strive to achieve our noble goals.”

Col. Sergei Sotnikov, the deputy chief of the Main Directorate for Drug Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, said:

“I am looking at you guys, and I'm happy. You are in great shape and in an exhilarated mood full of expectations of new discoveries along the length of the ultramarathon. You represent the most numerous team of healthy youth striving for high goals. Nasty habits that are harmful to the body, such as drugs, substance abuse, and alcoholism, are alien to us. On your way, you will visit memorable landmarks of our motherland, learning about the exploits of the heroes who defended our country.”

Konstantin Krylov, the regional secretary general of UPF for Eurasia, said:

“The roads unite people, contributing to the establishment of peace. I wish you, during this run, to become true peacemakers and fighters for a healthy lifestyle!”

Within 11 days the participants, together with the ultramarathon organizers, covered the route: Moscow - Krasnogorsk - Volokolamsk - Rzhev - Selizharovo - Ostashkov - Demyansk - Staraya Russa - Veliky Novgorod - Lyuban - Tosno - Gatchina - St. Petersburg.

In many cities, warm meetings, musical concerts, and sightseeing tours were organized for the runners. Their itinerary included visits to monuments and places of military glory related to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

Arriving in in St. Petersburg on June 22, the ultramarathoners took part in commemorative events for the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow, the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Carrying their flags, the runners finished at St. Petersburg’s historic Palace Square. In a closing speech, Dmitry Samko, the leader of the Moscow chapter of UPF, a co-organizer of the ultramarathon, vividly explained one of the project’s goals:

“Friends, like-minded people, we have run more than 1,000 kilometers and were able to win the main victory—the victory over ourselves! We have become healthier, kinder; now we love our Russia even more after having plunged into its history and diversity! This finish is not the end, but only the beginning of our beautiful future!”

The ultramarathon was held thanks to the assistance of many people and various organizations. We hope that it contributed to the promotion of physical culture and sports among youth. It drew the attention of local authorities to the problem of drug addiction and showed them a real way of preventing this problem. The ultramarathon gave the participants an invaluable opportunity to enjoy the taste of victory over themselves, freedom, healthy communication and a life full of meaning!

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