Home > International > Ukrainian soldiers run in 41st Marine Corps Marathon

From The Ukrainian Weekly, 11.13.16

A team of Ukrainian wounded warriors – some of whom were ATO veterans who were undergoing rehabilitation in medical centers in Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia – participated in the 41st U.S. Marine Corps Marathon on October 30 in Washington. Nearly 100 members of the Ukrainian community came out to support the Ukrainian soldiers.

The course began and finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., while passing the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the town of Rosslyn, Georgetown, the National Mall and Crystal City.

Also participating were representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps, the British-American charity Allied Forces Foundation, Ukrainian volunteer groups in the U.S.A., journalists and a team of wounded soldiers from Georgia.

Vadym Sviridenko, a former soldier of the 128th mountain brigade, said that Ukraine’s soldiers dedicated their run to all Ukrainian military personnel who lost their lives or health while combating Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Mr. Sviridenko, 43 (who placed 1,810th), was joined by Vadym Maznichenko, 30 (placed 3,896th), Pavlo Stepanov, 26 (placed 4,791st), Nataliia Melnychenko 30 (placed 4,037th), Kateryna Mashko, 22 (placed 2,553rd), and Dmytro Fesenko, 33 (placed 747th), Volodymyr Havrylov, 58 (placed 3,900th), and Andriy Kikh, 40 (placed 4,792nd), in the 10-kilometer race. Alexander Valchyshen, 44, placed 480th in the marathon.

Stuart Taylor, president of the Allied Forces Foundation, noted that the participation in the marathon by soldiers from Ukraine and Georgia demonstrated a high spirit and willingness of these countries’ militaries to withstand the foreign aggressor.

The athletes representing Ukraine were selected from a group of 60 candidates who were injured while defending Ukrainian independence against Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014-2015.

Two warriors, Messrs. Sviridenko and Maznichenko, accomplished a rehabilitation course in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., this year.

Participation of wounded Ukrainian warriors in the 41st Marine Corps Marathon was made possible by the support of the Allied Forces Foundation and Partnership for Peace Section of the NATO’s Office in Kyiv, and with active assistance of the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S. and volunteer organizations.

All members of the team were very excited about the possibility to travel to the United States and to represent their country in such a prestigious event as MCM. For them it is also important to talk to colleagues from other countries and share their experience of survival and active life even with severe traumas.

A group of rehab specialists and volunteers from Ukraine accompanied the wounded soldiers. They plan to visit U.S. military medical centers and discuss joint activities with U.S. rehab specialists.