Ukraine is in the midst of a running boom. Participation rates in the sport are increasing by roughly thirty percent each year and even though the race is still in its relative infancy, more than 8500 runners from 40 countries took part in the fourth edition of the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon last year.
Organisers are expecting similar participation levels in this year’s race which takes place in the Ukrainian capital once again on 17 April. The event - which boasts the status of the biggest race on Ukraine’s burgeoning running calendar - has also been given a five star endorsement by European Athletics Running For All.
With seventy percent of participants travelling from beyond Kiev, the half marathon has had a palpable impact on the city’s economy with local businesses and services benefitted from the influx of visitors during race weekend. The race has also been something of a PR coup with the half marathon putting Kiev on the international road running map and presenting the city as a dynamic and developing destination.
And the race organisers have by no means ignored the charitable aspects of mass participation running. Last year, more than 700,000 Ukrainian hryvnia was raised for good causes and the organisers are hoping they can smash this figure this year.
The race has further embraced the fundraising side this year by joining forces with the Ukrainian Philanthropic Marketplace - a site not too dissimilar to JustGiving.com - which has endorsed ten charities which are all supported by famous public figures in Ukraine.
And there is also a dedicated 2km charity race (“#Neterpliachky”) on the programme. This year, nearly 1000 runners will be taking part to support prematurely-born babies with one half of the 200 HRY entry fee donated to the Kiev City Maternal Hospital. The much-needed funds generated from the race will allow the hospital to purchase state-of-the-art - and life saving - equipment such as resuscitators, allowing babies to take their first breaths independently.
Entries are still open for the fifth edition of this race on 17 April through the event’s website.
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