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Hero Cities Run: lawyers from Mykolaiv united the running community in a charity online race

Publication date: October 25, 2022

Mykolaiv NGO “Time to gather Ukrainians” implemented an extraordinary project – the Hero Cities Run charity online race. From August 13 to 31 of this year, more than 150 participants from 7 countries ran in support of Ukrainian cities and their residents who suffered from the armed aggression of the russian federation. All funds received are directed to the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the support of their families.

“Now there is no difference – East or West, North or South. Every Ukrainian city and town, every settlement is heroic, every inhabitant is a superhero”, these are the words of the video recorded at the beginning of the race by its organizers and participants from Mykolaiv.

“Fortress city on the Sea of Azov and our most painful wound… For the drama theater, for the maternity hospital, for the “Azov” regiment heroes of the and thousands of dead city residents. I’m running for Mariupol!”…

“A small town near Kyiv, which will forever go down in history as a place of beastly cruelty of the enemy horde. Hundreds of peaceful people were shot, killed, and tortured to death. I’m running for Bucha!”…

“Almost six months in the occupation. But they don’t give up. They continue to resist and work for Victory. I’m running for Kherson!”…

“They have their own front. Lviv, and with it, the entire West of Ukraine, supports refugees and provides humanitarian aid to the East and South. I’m running for Lviv!”…

For Kharkiv, for Kremenchuk, for Vinnytsia, for Odesa, for Lysychansk, for Crimea…
Each participant could choose which of the cities his/her race was dedicated to.Video: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

Mykolaiv residents also ran for their native city, which is in third place in the list of Ukraine cities that suffered the largest number of missile attacks by enemy russia during the full-scale war. The Mykolaiv oblast is actually near the front. Active hostilities are taking place on its territory. Snihurivka and several dozen villages near it are occupied by russian troops.

Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.
Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.
Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.
  • “Ukraine will definitely win. Meanwhile, every Ukrainian in their place should do everything possible to ensure that this Victory comes as soon as possible. That is why the goal of the #Hero_Cities_Run is to support our hero cities and their superhero residents”, says Vitalii Okhrymenko, the head of the NGO “Time to Gather Ukrainians” and the author of the project idea.
Photo (in the center): Vitalii Okhrymenko, the head of the NGO “Time to Gather Ukrainians” and the author of the project idea. Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

We have already written about the fact that Vitalii himself defends Ukraine in the ranks of the Armed Forces, and his colleague, the organization’s lawyer Vadym Zhepalo, who also participated in the organization and holding of the marathon, serves in the local territorial defense.

Therefore, the team’s primary task was to collect funds for the rehabilitation of a combat comrade, Anatolii Kiniev, an electrician driver of the Mykolaiv Territorial Defense Battalion. On the night of June 2-3 this year, during a combat mission, he came under enemy artillery fire and received serious shrapnel wounds and fractures. Now the defender is being treated at the Odesa Military Hospital, where a complex operation awaits him.

Photo: Anatolii Kiniev with his family. Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

Anatolii is married and has 11 (!) children. Three older sons serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, one of them was also wounded, and another one is currently in captivity. His wife and younger children are outside the Mykolaiv oblast in a camp for internally displaced persons. The charitable purpose of the event is to help the hero with rehabilitation and support his large family.

  • “Anatolii is from my unit. I was supposed to be on duty just after him…” adds Vadym Zhepalo.
Photo: Vadym Zhepalo, the lawyer of the NGO “Time to Gather Ukrainians”. Photo: Facebook.

Anyone from any part of the world could become a participant in #Hero_Cities_Run. It was only necessary to fulfill simple conditions, in particular, to pay the registration fee (the amounts were different, depending on the purchased package of the participant: Hero, Superhero, or Volunteer). Each participant received an electronic certificate and depending on the participation package, medals, and branded T-shirts.

Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

The participant had to run or even walk any convenient distance of 1 km or more, record the result of the run (walk) with the help of any tracking program, and send it to the e-mail of the project. Thus, everyone, young and old, could take part in the charity run.

Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

This is confirmed by the smallest participant of the race – Sofia Vasylevska. True, she was “running” in her dad’s arms (in the video), because she is still a baby. But Sofia also received an official participant certificate, as did her father Andrii, and mother Iryna. So the whole sports family supported the charitable idea.  Video: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

Here are just some preliminary results of the Hero Cities Run:

  • Almost 150 participants from 7 countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Israel, and Portugal.
  • More than 1000 km of covered distance.
  • More than 30,000 UAH collected funds.
  • 23,000 UAH of them will be transferred to the rehabilitation of Anatolii Kiniev and the support of his family.

The organizers decided not to stop there, they intend to continue the project.

  • “Until Victory, fundraising will be directed to the support of military personnel… We want to make this race a permanent event, so that any person, no matter where he/she is, no matter how long he/she runs, can support the Armed Forces in this way, join and feel part of a powerful team of like-minded people and patriots. It is also a great opportunity to involve children-athletes in the event because they currently do not have the opportunity to go to any competitions.”, noted Volodymyr Kiliarskyi, the head of the Mykolaiv Oblast Athletics Federation, in cooperation with which the NGO “Time to Gather Ukrainians” held the event.
Photo: Volodymyr Kiliarskyi, the head of the Mykolaiv Oblast Athletics Federation. Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.
  • “For now, we cannot say when exactly the next race will be. We need to make some organizational and technical adjustments, determine the next goal for fundraising, and think about promoting the event to reach more participants. We hope that people liked our idea and #Hero_Cities_Run will become a traditional event that will be held regularly, at least until our complete and undisputed Victory. Cities live. Heroes do not die! Glory to Ukraine!”, Vitalii Okhrymenko explains.
Photo: “Time to gather Ukrainians”.

More about the project on the Hero Cities Run page, as well as on the page of the NGO “Time to Gather Ukrainians”.

Join, run, tell your friends and acquaintances about the marathon, post on social networks, use hashtags #Нero_Cities_Run#ябіжузаМісто (for example: #ябіжузаМаріуполь). Post-reliz-Hero-Cities-Run Завантажити

P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.

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