“We are running for peace and friendship!” – amateur sportsmen from Cologne ran a marathon in Volgograd

In 2019, the much-beloved Volgograd marathon “Pobeda”, which lies along the chilly Volga River, has been joined by a delegation of runners from Cologne.

Information about the event and an invitation to take part in it have been distributed amidst all cities with which Volgograd is celebrating an anniversary of twinning in 2019. This time, the only reply came from Cologne – mostly, thanks to the active help of the “Cologne-Volgograd” Friendship Society.

Let us be reminded that Volgograd’s partner-city from Western Germany is famous for its own large-scale race – the RheinEnergie Marathon, the finish line of which runs near the world-renowned Cologne Cathedral. Sportsmen from Cologne’s partner-cities are offered free-of-charge starting slots by the RheinEnergie organizers, whereas the “Cologne-Volgograd” Friendship Society is arranging the athletes’ stay in hosting families and is actively involved in the organization of their itinerary.

In 2018, among participants from Volgograd there was the chief organizer of the Volgograd marathon – Dmitry Chirkov, who decided to return the favor and offer free starting slots to the athletes from Volgograd’s own twin and partner-cities.

As a result, the German delegation’s itinerary in Volgograd was organized together by Volgograd administration, the organizing committee of Volgograd international marathon “Pobeda” and the Volgograd branch of the Russian Peace Foundation.

The toughest member of the German delegation was Ilona Mikalauskaite, who covered a 10 km distance.

“To everyone around, in the hotel and at the airport, I kept telling about Volgograd marathon. Hopefully, next year our team will get much bigger!” she says.

Gabriele Jopen for this particular race joined the ranks of the “Zdorovye” Volgograd club for amateur runners under the leadership of Lyudmila Sidorina: the sportive women offered their German fellow a pair of special sticks for Nordic walking and a uniform shirt-front.

Uwe Wolter, who has been playing tennis for many years, is not new to long hours under the sun. His co-runner for 5 km – Ruediger Droeger, who has recently celebrated his 80th birthday, received from the veterans of the Volgograd marathon a meaningful souvenir – a special medal of participation.

“We felt like superstars: immediately after the finish line we were surrounded by friends and showered in congratulations,” they reminiscent.

All initiators of the project expressed their hope that its test stage will be deemed successful and allow them to expand the scope and geography of the race’s participants next year.

Фото -- Волгоградская правда

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