On April 14, approximately 11,000 people took part in the 6th Kharkiv International Marathon. Athletes from 18 countries, including Germany, Kenya, Slovakia, the UK, France and Saudi Arabia, participated in the spectacular sports event.
In total, the runners got five main courses of 1.6 km, 4.2 km, 10 km, 42 km and 2×21,1-km relay race. The most massive was 10-km-race where the highest number of participants, amounting to 3,000, were registered. The shortest 1.6-km race is considered a family run.
According to the city council’s official, about 500 athletes registered to run the full marathon distance.
The winner of the men’s marathon was a 26-year-old sportsman from Kenya, Robert Kipkoech Kirui, who ran 42 km in 2 hours 26 minutes. It is his first Ukrainian marathon. He thanked Kharkiv fans for their support as hundreds of spectators applauded him along the whole route. The athlete confessed that he expected to set a new record, but at the 25th kilometer, he hurt his leg and could not beat last year’s record of his compatriot.
Second place was taken by Dmytro Pozhevilov from Chuhuiv, the Kharkiv region, who covered the distance in 2 hours 32 minutes. Vadym Sapa from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, finished third in 2 hours 36 minutes.
Gold in the women’s marathon race was won by an athlete from Dnipro, Tetiana Vilisova in 2 hours 48 minutes. Kharkivites Veronica Kalashnikova and Natalia Karavan took silver and bronze with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 3 hours 9 minutes respectively.
Kharkiv marathon is known for its family running traditions. Once again families with children and even babies in strollers took part in the event.
In spite of cool weather, 11-year-old Renata was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. The girl has taken part in the event for the fifth year and was going to run 10-km-race in 42 minutes.
People with disabilities, veterans of the war in the east, as well as Nordic walking lovers participated in the sports event. Kharkivite Pavlo Us used to be a boxer but he was beaten violently 13 years ago. Since then, the man has moved around in the wheelchair. But he didn’t give up doing sports and tries to take part in all city sports competitions. His wheelchair was redesigned into a special bicycle for such purposes. Pavlo has taken part in the marathon for the fifth year.
The marathon’s route runs through the main streets of Kharkiv and covers its famous sights.
Also, Kharkiv sports mascot Ferret was present during the competition. The athlete wearing a ferret costume ran a 4.2-km race.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: 057.ua, Vasyl Holosny