Running is running. Putting one foot in front of the other is the only requirement of the sport; or is it? Some may say that an organized community of other runners and a positive encouraging environment is also necessary for a runner. Well neither of these things are given in the Ukraine. Runners here tend to go without and yet despite nagging pedestrians and unruly dog owners, a small but determined running community survives. Although these runners tend to come from a low socio-economic class belonging to running clubs and participating in races doesn't require a high financial profile. Race entries are free yet according to Boris Erpylov the races are not nearly as organized as other countries he has run in such as Germany. Foreign runners can be easily spotted if they wear technical running apparel or flashy new shoes for the most part running dress code in Ukraine consists of nothing more than a beat up pair of shoes and some shabby shorts and shirt. However, even though the sport is relatively undemanding running is a struggling sport.
As for the small dedicated group that can meet up to 5 times a week at Boris' running club the Nadiya (www.olizarenko.com.ua), running can look pretty regular to the outsider. Boris often runs alone without music and tries to switch up his training routes as much as possible. While in most countries a rainstorm or cold temperatures may force many runners inside the weather isn't a factor for the Ukraine runners. Ukraine isn't a weather utopia, it still is victim to sweltering summers, rainstorms and other extreme weather conditions however that doesn't deter the devote runners.
Running extras such as magazines are virtually non existent in Ukraine as reported by Boris, "there is no single running magazine issued in our country". Many runners like Boris must rely on outside sources to satisfy their running passion. Boris is a subscriber to "Runner's World" news bulletin. On the actual racing side, there are no novelty or charity runs organized in Boris' area and rarely do road races have T-shirts however there are certificates and token gifts that act as awards. Many of the local races are short distances and therefore don't require any refreshment stands en route.
Running in the Ukraine is definitely a sport one must take seriously to participate in yet a community does survive. However, to an average runner it may seem rather desolate. A lot of Boris' race experience has occurred outside the Ukraine. His favorite race ever was in Roth, Germany in 1992 and he has run six marathons in Moscow. His personal best is 3:10. As a living breathing example at 60 Boris has participated in two triathlons and a marathon, running and the Ukraine are not mutually exclusive.
Run The Planet would like to thank Boris Erpylov from Ukraine for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.