Ten Ukrainian veterans of the war in eastern Ukraine will take part in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon in the US this October. The Marathon comes as an annual international event founded in 1976 to rehabilitate combat veterans for the civil life as well as to enhance the interaction between military and civilians. Ukrainians will take part in the marathon for the second time. Meet the Ukrainian team members.
The Ukrainian team
This year four Ukrainian participants are going to run the 42-km distance, they are Mykola Rudyk, Yehor Terekhov, Oleksandr Malanich and Oleksandr Chalapchiy. Ukrainians to run the 10-km distance are Dmytro Blokhin, Yuriy Hibonchuk, Yuriy Dmytrenko, Pavlo Solokha, Artem Lukashuk and Yuriy Pysarchuk.
“I ran 10 km with prostheses”
Ten participants were chosen among the 200 candidates. Head of the Ukrainian team is Vadym Svyrydenko, a military medic who lost all the four limbs during the combat for Debaltseve in February 2015. Last year he ran 10 km at the Marine Corps Marathon.
“Rehabilitation by sports is crucial,” Svyrydenko, now President’s Envoy on rehabilitation of the combat veterans is quoted by the Channel 5. “I ran 10 km with the prostheses. The task we had back then was to run and represent Ukraine, to show that we have combat actions and are wounded. But that these people – participants of the race are actively demonstrating their sports achievements,” the veteran says.
It is not about the problem, it is about the attitude
Another participant of the Ukrainian team is a demobilized serviceman Yuriy. “In 2014 I enlisted into a volunteer battalion. I then signed a contract with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and served with the 54th reconnaissance battalion,” says Yuriy.
Following one and a half year of service Yuriy hit an anti-personnel mine near Hnutove and lost a leg. He started doing sports while in the hospital. He is now getting ready to compete in the 10-km distance at the Marine Corps Marathon.
“There is no problem. It is only in the fact how you perceive the problem. I did with understanding – there is nothing you can change. Many guys who were wounded accept it and continue to live. It does not become an obstacle for them to make a business or create a family,” the veteran is convinced.
The Ukrainian team is financially supported by representatives of the private sector and of international charitable organizations including Roshen company owned by Petro Poroshenko, Canada-Ukraine International Assistance Fund, and SvaStone trade mark.
Apart from actually taking part in the race, the veterans are going to visit Pentagon and meet their brothers-in-arms from the US and other countries.