Ukrainian ironman and wounded warrior participate in Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati’s Sister City relationship with Kharkiv brought a new dimension to the Flying Pig Marathon this past Sunday in the form of two Ukrainian runners carrying a serious message along with their blue and yellow flag.

The runners are raising awareness and money for a planned clinic to treat post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers, veterans and civilians affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Vadym KovalenkoSeasoned triathlete Vadym Kovalenko and former army sergeant Maksym Pasichnyk appeared on Friday, May 5, at Streetside Brewery in Columbia-Tusculum for a fundraiser organized by the Cincinnati-Kharkiv Sister City Partnership.

Kovalenko has been to Cincinnati several times under the Sister Cities banner in his role as general manager of the Aurora Hotel in Kharkiv. He is also co-founder of the Chameleon Athletic Club and a seasoned triathlete. He ran the Flying Pig once before in 2017.

This was Pasichnyk’s first trip. He was severely wounded in the early hours of an invasion on February 24, 2022, while battling Russian paratroopers who had landed at an airport near Kyiv.

Maksym Pasichnyk
Doctors told him he might never walk again. He went through a long rehabilitation, including running with Kovalenko to achieve marathon-level skills.

Back home, the two men recently took part in a “Marathon of the Unbreakable” held in the areas of Kyiv and Kharkiv. When they return to Europe, they hope to run marathons in Berlin and Krakow.

For more information, visit the Cincinnati-Kharkiv Sister City Partnership here.
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Read more articles by Margaret A. McGurk.

Margaret A. McGurk is a freelance writer, editor and media consultant. She was film critic for The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1995 to 2005.