The Day – Runner’s Diary: Ukrainian runs Boston to help his homeland


Boston – Igor Krytsak, a 33-year-old Ukrainian, is a sports event organizer who planned to run the Boston Marathon after qualifying in London last year with a personal best time of 2 hours, 57 minutes, 33 seconds . When Russia invaded his native country, he sent his wife and two daughters to safety in Spain, but he could not leave the country without a special permit.

Krytsak received permission to run in Boston for humanitarian purposes and arrived in the United States on Saturday. He finished the race on Monday in 3:22:41 a.m., wearing a yellow and blue headband and waving a Ukrainian flag that read “I’m Ukrainian and I’m proud of it” as he crossed the finish line. arrival.

Even as other runners continued on the course throughout the afternoon, Krytsak left for New York; Tuesday he will fly to Warsaw, where he will meet his family and drive back to Ukraine.

Krytsak discussed his experience with The Associated Press via text chat. (His comments have been edited for clarity, style and space):

When the war broke out, I completely stopped training and preparing for the marathon and devoted all my time to volunteering to support the army and the settlers. My colleagues and I have created a large charitable foundation that deals with humanitarian issues and provides the Ukrainian army with ammunition and other military equipment.

Eventually I realized that I needed to change and spend time running, because running for me is a kind of meditation. During the next race I thought about what I was doing to support my people and my army, I constantly squirmed and thought I could do more. It was then that I had the idea to do everything possible to obtain permission to travel abroad to transport humanitarian aid (I bring back to Ukraine a lot of help from Ukrainian and American friends ) and to participate in the Boston Marathon to inform society about events in Ukraine.

In my opinion, it is very important now to explain to the world what Russia is doing to us. Since 2014, Russia has done everything to destroy our state, and on February 24 it moved to the next phase and launched a full-scale war that has already killed tens of thousands of civilians. This is the genocide of the Ukrainian people. The Russian army cannot capture Ukraine, so it kills and bombs civilians; rape and kill our women, children and men; loot; organizes concentration camps and sends our citizens from our territory to the Russian Federation.

The entire civilized world must stop this madness. We ask for maximum support from Ukraine, because this war is not just about our country. It is a war for freedom and democracy all over the world. The Ukrainian army is currently defending all civilized people against fascism (at the moment there are fierce battles in the Donbass). If Putin overtakes Ukraine, then I have a question for you: who will be next?

I volunteer with several voluntary organizations. Our teams have filed official requests for authorization to cross the border for humanitarian purposes. I received it and I intend to continue dealing with humanitarian issues and supporting the Ukrainian army.

My mission here was to establish humanitarian aid channels to Ukraine, to collect and bring aid to Ukraine, to participate in a marathon and to tell the world the terrible truth that I, my family and all my Ukrainian people live.

I didn’t think about the marathon, and even less about the result. I wanted to draw a parallel between the events that took place in Boston in 2013 and the events that are taking place here in Ukraine.

During the marathon, I thought of those people who are now surrounded, those who are hiding and fleeing the bombardments, those who are now defending our state, and those who will never wake up and start a new day. Participating in a marathon is a big party. This is my fifth major in the Marathon Major series. However, today, in the distance, I cried several times watching happy, carefree families who, together with their loved ones, are safe, having fun and actively spending their time here. Like millions of Ukrainians, I DREAM that the war will end as soon as possible and that everyone involved in these atrocities and crimes will be punished.

For me, this is an opportunity to recount or recall the war crimes against humanity that the Russian Federation is currently committing against our people. It is very important for us to always be on the air and to remember that the sacred war for the freedom and democracy of the whole civilized world is taking place on the territory of our state. We need help. Please don’t forget us. Support us; stop the war now. Go to the central squares of your cities and countries, ask the government for more sanctions against Russia and Belarus, give us more weapons, and our army will protect the whole world.

One more thing: by participating in the marathon, it was important for me to feel and see with my own eyes if there is understanding and support among the people of America and other countries and it was very nice to know that there is support. Thank you to everyone who does not stay away and help us.

I saw and heard many different people standing with the Ukrainian flag and shouting words of support. I am very grateful to these people for not keeping silent but for raising the issue of Ukraine.

As Associated Press Writer Collin Binkley and AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen told.

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