At Boston Marathon, Brooklyn Ukrainian runner, others show national pride

April 21, 2022 Editorial Staff
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By Colin Binkley Associated Press and Brooklyn Eagle Staff


Ukrainian running club meets in Prospect Park

As he faced the hills and headwinds in the Boston Marathon, Dmytro Molchanov, a 33-year-old Ukrainian citizen who lives in Brooklyn, couldn’t stop thinking of friends and family back home in Ukraine.

“When it was really tough, I tried not to give up and tried pushing, kind of fight with myself the way Ukrainians are fighting against Russia right now,” he said after crossing the finish line Monday. “It’s really tough, basically, being here while all my family, my friends and Ukrainians are fighting over there for peace in my country, in Europe and the world overall.”

Molchanov, who be- longs to the Brooklyn-based Ukrainian Running Club of New York, ran the 26.2-mile race wearing a Ukraine singlet, with his face painted his homeland’s yellow and blue. He crossed the finish line with the Ukrainian flag draped over his shoulders. The Ukrainian Running Club meets and runs as a group every Saturday in Prospect Park.

More than 40 Ukrainians had registered for Boston Marathon, but the Russian invasion prevented many from making it to the starting line. Ukraine has barred most men from leaving the country in case they’re needed for military service.

Only a few received special permission to run in Boston.

Molchanov was the fastest among about a dozen Ukrainian citizens in the field, crossing the finish line on Boylston Street in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 20 seconds.

“I still decided to come here and show that Ukrainians are strong, we’re fighting and we hope peace will come soon,” he said.

Race organizers offered refunds or deferrals for Ukrainians who registered for this year’s race. In a stand against the violence in Ukraine, the race also barred athletes from Russia and Belarus who are currently residing in either country.

That made the race even more poignant for Molchanov, whose mother and grandmother have refused to leave their homeland near Crimea.

Along the route, there were signs of support for the Ukraine runners. A man waved a Ukrainian flag, and a large flag was draped over the fencing at the marker for Mile 25.

It wasn’t lost on Molchanov that Ukraine’s national colors, blue and yellow, are also the race’s official colors. Seeing those hues all along the route made it feel like a “home race,” he said.

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