Russia: Peace Road 2019
By Maria Nazarova, UPF Russia
The 2019 Peace Road Marathon runners, who ran under the theme “I Choose Sports. Children Against Drugs,” finished their two-week-long run at Victory Park (memorial to WWII) on June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illegal Trafficking.
The President’s Fund of Russia offered support in the form of mini buses, which traveled with the runners, and the Ministry of Internal affairs supplied a police escort along the whole route of the Peace Road.
The 50 marathoners had started on June 12—the national holiday Russia Day—from Kilometer Zero next to Moscow’s Red Square. They covered 1,350 kilometers in 14 days, passing through the Moscow, Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Ivanovo and Vladimir regions.
UPF-Russia has been a co-organizer of this marathon every year for more than ten years. Our close Ambassador for Peace, Sergey Suprunyuk, is the main organizer. Dmitry Samko, the head of UPF-Moscow, personally ran with the marathoners.
The marathon drew a lot of media attention. Federal and local television stations broadcast about 20 news reports, and newspapers printed about 20 articles. Dmitry Samko gave interviews in person to the police news and the Moscow Region news.
The marathoners were welcomed by officials in big cities and small towns as well as by officials of police departments.
The marathon ended at Victory Park at Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill with a great celebration organized by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and different groups of dancers. A demonstration of police dogs in action, exhibitions of guns, antique cars and police motorcycles, and performances by special troops made this celebration very attractive to many people – about 700 anti-drug activists and officials participated.
The Peace Road marathoners were invited to a special reception at the Russian Senate. The senator who heads the Protocol Committee chaired the
meeting and told us, “This is the first time that young people are meeting here. Next time, the full Senate will be on board for your project.” She thanked UPF and introduced the presentation given by Konstantin Krylov, the vice president of UPF for the Eastern Europe region. She and a police representative presented 50 medals to the young participants.
Three senators participated in the meeting. The Federal Channel and Moscow TV made interviews. Moscow radio also reported on the marathon’s finish.
UPF spent only about $200 for this project, due to the support offered by the President’s Fund and Ministry of Internal Affairs (responsible for police).