Correspondent for Censor.NET reports.
Before leaving for the U.S., the Ukrainian marathon runners took picture with those who came to see them off and were going to accompany them during the trip. The runners from left to right: Vadym Maznychenko (far left), Vadym Svyrydenko (third from left), Pavlo Stepanov (fifth from left), and Dmytro Fesenko next to him.
The annual marathon is organized in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Marine Corps. It will be held for the 41st time this year. Ukrainians will run together with the military from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, France, Lithuania, Estonia, and Australia for the first time. Four seriously injured servicemen were selected out of sixty candidates back in summer. The guys were actively working out all this time.
43-year-old Vadym Svyrydenko served as a surgeon's assistant in the 128th Brigade which was trapped in Debaltseve pocket in February 2015. The vehicle that was evacuating him with other wounded soldiers tripped two mines. Vadym stood out in the cold reaching -20Co for four days. The rest of the wounded froze to death... He lost both of his hands and feet to frostbite.
30-year-old Vadym Maznychenko volunteered for AT rocket launcher operator in the 14th Battalion from Cherkasy. When his unit was deployed on the outskirts of Starohnativka, they were mortar-shelled. One of the projectiles exploded 10 meters away from the soldier. The shrapnel tore off his left arm and right leg...
Following the long-term treatment in Ukraine, both Vadyms went through eight-month rehabilitation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Each of them received three pairs of leg prostheses for walking, running, and swimming as well as multi-articulating bionic prosthetic hands.
26-year-old Pavlo Stepanov is a professional soldier. He served in the National Guard of Ukraine and sustained severe injuries at the shooting range during the exercise. He was run over by an APC which damaged his pelvic bone. Despite the fact that Pavlo's right leg still responds poorly, he is ready to prove himself by running 10 kilometers!
33-year-old Dmytro Fesenko volunteered for the Donbas Battalion. He was wounded in the vicinity of Novotroitske village last June. The shrapnel ripped out a huge piece of tissue from his right shin. The soldiers' chest also received injuries. Dmytro still had an open wound when he came to attend the selection for the marathon.
All four guys are set to cover the distance. They were joking and teasing each other at the airport before check-in. Many of the passengers in the airport were noticing the "smart" hand of one of Vadyms, an unusual walk of the other one, thanked them and wished good luck in the marathon. The guys were pleased to hear that. They said getting on the plane: "Do not worry. We will give a fine account of ourselves!"
The Ukrainian diaspora in the U.S. and the Embassy of Ukraine to the United States are calling on Ukrainians who live in Washington, D.C. or are going to visit the United States' capital that day to support the small team of Ukrainian veterans. The marathon will kick off near the Pentagon at 9:15 a.m. Oct. 30 (http://www.mcmlocator.com/10k route map). The finish line will be established near the United States Marine Corps War Memorial near the Arlington Cemetery.