NEW YORK – Members of the Ukrainian Running Club New York with their numerous supporters – more than 150 people in total – gathered at the Ukrainian Institute of America on August 21 to celebrate the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed independence with a Vyshyvanka Run.
It was the seventh time that organizers held the race in person. It was also held virtually in 2020 as a result of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Run organizers offered participants a variety of distances so that participants of different skill levels, from the fastest who could run a mile in 5 minutes to those in wheelchairs, could take part in the event.
Race organizers have only one rule for the annual event: each participant must wear a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt (vyshyvanka).
Anna Shpook, the founder of the Ukrainian Running Club New York, addressed the participants before the race began with a short speech. She introduced Consul General of Ukraine in New York Oleksii Holubov and Consul Vadym Tkachuk.
Mr. Holubov wished everyone victory – victory for Ukraine in the war against Russia, and, to the athletes present for this year’s run, victory in running and life.
Event director Tetiana Samokysh provided event participants with information about the run before participants all sang the Ukrainian national anthem and gathered for a joint picture.
Depending on their abilities, run participants either ran 4 kilometers or walked 2.5 kilometers along the magical paths of New York’s Central Park.
The fastest group of runners was led by Dmytro Molchanov and Volodymyr Sobur, while Nik Zavada and Dmytro Stasiuk led a middle group. The slightly more leisurely group was guided by Ms. Samokysh and Daria Holan, while the walking group (which turned out to be the largest group) was led by Stefan Slutsky, who was assisted by Lada Lysniak and Andriy Yariy Skalchuk.
The race for children, directed by Yana Zavada and Maria Poharska, turned out to be very emotional. Not only the parents, but also everyone present enthusiastically greeted each child who crossed the finish line. As they crossed the finish line, each child was awarded a medal by a guest of the Vyshyvanka Run – a member of the New York Police Running Club.
All donations from the event – more than $4,600 in total – were sent to support Ukrainian school children affected by the war.
Thanks to the volunteer organization Aid Ukraine Now – founded by Mr. Zavada and Dmytro Boyko, both members of the Ukrainian Running Club New York – Ukrainian children in need were to be given special packages for the coming school year. The packages, worth $300, include a backpack, writing stationery and a tablet for online lessons.
The success of this year’s Vyshyvanka Run was made possible by the joint efforts of numerous volunteers, the sponsorship of New York’s Veselka restaurant, which provided all participants with delicious hot meals that included traditional varenyky and borshch. Bauer Dental Arts provided a donation that covered all of the expenses for the event, Roman Verhnyak provided professional photos of the event, and Eyal Holan supplied bottled water.
This year’s Vyshyvanka Run also received wide coverage in the Ukrainian media. It was covered by a number of leading news agencies in Ukraine, while Voice of America prepared a video report that can be seen on YouTube.