Fundraising friends to cycle 100km Ukraine-shaped route
Nine friends – including a Ukrainian expat – will cycle a 100km route that traces the shape of Ukraine to raise money for the war effort.
Anglo-Ukrainian Maks Oberemok, 22, organised the challenge for this Sunday to mark the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In March last year the same school friends raised £22,000 for Ukraine with a half marathon from Trowbridge to Bath. Now they hope to raise another £5,000.
Many of Mr Oberemok’s family are from the Ukrainian city Sumy, which is just a few miles from the Russian border.
After a terrifying few months, his grandmother and some others were able to flee the area and find sponsorship in the UK. They are now living close to his family home in Trowbridge.
Mr Oberemok said: “I’ve still got family there who can’t leave. They are being terrorised by artillery rounds and rockets that are randomly being fired over their village.
“I recently spoke to one of my friends and his mental health is really suffering from the constant shelling.
“I’m so relieved to have some of my family here though, many of them I hadn’t seen for three-and-a-half years. We’ve been having lots of big dinners – my grandma won’t stop cooking for us all.
“We appreciate any support people can give. This war is still going on and all Ukrainians are struggling. Every donation means so much to us.”
This Sunday the friends will set off from Trowbridge before heading in a loop that passes Frome, Warminster and Westbury.
They expect the gruelling ride to take eight hours – a tall order when most of the group are not serious cyclists.
Mr Oberemok said: “It was tricky making a route that matched the shape of Ukraine. To make it work we’ll have to do some really big hills. It’s going to be a struggle.”
The friends can expect a Ukrainian feast when they finish Sunday’s challenge, courtesy of his family. It may include his grandmother’s special meal, plov, an Uzbekistani dish of pork and rice.
Jake Nickerson, a University of Bristol mechanical engineering student, helped organise the run last year. He is one of three University of Bristol students taking on the cycle.
He said: “Most of us aren’t cyclists, so it could be a tough day on Sunday. But it’s worth it help the many Ukrainians who are suffering right now.
“We’ll be stopping every 25km so people can come and support us if they want.”
The other University of Bristol students are Dan Mason-Rheinschmiedt and Alex Gulliford.
To donate visit the friends’ GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/vp9v7h-running-for-ukraine?member=23223121&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer