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Join us in running 10km for Ukraine

Registration is now open for 10k for Ukraine, a free event that will offer people a chance to come together, support each other and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Participants are encouraged to donate to Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s Humanitarian Appeal when they sign up.

The in-person event takes place Saturday March 19 with a virtual event running March 19-27. Runners are encouraged to wear blue and yellow.

Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw, whose grandparents came to Canada from Ukraine, says the run is one small way the Saskatchewan community can stand with those affected by the war.

“I don’t imagine many people in Ukraine are going to know that people in Saskatoon went for a run to show solidarity, but I think it’s important that we come together and we show support,” he says. “And raising money to help people is also critical.”

One man in Ukraine who does know about the run is Sergii Vashurin, a two-time Saskatchewan Marathon champion who has maintained ties with the Saskatoon running community.

Sergii Vashurin, centre, stands on the podium after winning the 2016 Saskatchewan Marathon. Beside him (on left) are Brendan Lundy of Camrose, Alta., who finished second, and (on right) Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw, who finished third.
Sergii Vashurin, centre, stands on the podium after winning the 2016 Saskatchewan Marathon. Beside him (on left) are Brendan Lundy of Camrose, Alta., who finished second, and (on right) Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw, who finished third.

Vashurin has been a regular on the Saskatchewan Marathon podium in recent years, winning the flagship event in both 2016 and 2017. He’s the executive director of a Ukrainian running club and came to Canada in 2016. He’s lived in Toronto since 2017 and received his immigration status last year, but returned to Ukraine in December to be with his wife, who was pregnant. Not long after she gave birth on Jan. 25, the Russian army began attacking Ukraine.

Vashurin and his family are safe in his hometown of Chernivtsi in west Ukraine, but they hear the air alarms sound a few times a day.

“This is terrible time for people in Ukraine because that is not exactly classic war it is the genocide of the Ukrainian people on the land of the Ukrainian people,” he wrote.

“You will ask why I have described the situation in Ukraine today in this way. Because the Russian army destroys houses of civilians, kindergartens, hospitals, maternity hospitals, churches and buildings belonging to UNESCO etc. These are not military objects that threaten them, but they are still destroying the gene pool of the Ukrainian people. They are committing a terrible crime — but Ukraine will survive and win.”

For all the darkness in the world, Vashurin encourages people to keep coming together through sport including in events like Brainsport’s 10k for Ukraine.

“We are people who live in a society that needs to be united,” he says. “During the competition we can see how people from other countries, religions and skin colours compete on an equal footing with each other.

“In this way, sport has always united and will unite the whole world in spite of everything.”

For more information on the 10k for Ukraine and to register, go online.