On September 17, 2023, Russia’s capital hosted the nation’s largest running race: the Moscow Marathon. This year, the race reached a noteworthy anniversary: the Moscow Marathon turned 10 years old, and a record 38,000 people registered for it. Some participants in the marathon set as their goal to attract the attention of others to the activities of the national chapter of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Russia) and the social problems it solves.
This time, the Moscow Marathon is more than just a race. This is, first of all, a powerful community—a large, trend-setting running series on an all-Russian scale. Around the world, long-distance running has long been an effective tool for attracting attention and raising funds for charitable causes. At almost every major race in the world, you can see runners wearing T-shirts from various foundations, running for something that is important to them. In Russia, this is just an emerging trend. The 2023 Moscow Marathon featured two runners supporting the mission and work of ADRA Russia. Yaroslav Paliy and Dmitry Klopov agreed to answer several questions for the Day after Day newspaper.
DaD: Why are you participating in the Moscow Marathon?
Paliy: The Moscow Marathon is, without exaggeration, the main event of the running season. Tens of thousands of amateur athletes from all over the country purposefully prepare for this distance in order to demonstrate the results of their efforts at the official start and gain good motivation for further training. But it's not just about that. The atmosphere of a mass start is indescribable; you are running hand in hand with many purposeful people of all ages and beliefs—adherents of a healthy lifestyle, initiators of various projects and movements, and participants in charitable organizations. And in this sense, the marathon as an event goes far beyond purely sporting goals.
Klopov: Recently, I began to take an active part in mass races. The Moscow Marathon is one of the main races in our country; it has its own atmosphere and beauty, and there is an opportunity to test your strength and capabilities over a long distance.
DaD: Why are you running the Moscow Marathon wearing a T-shirt with the ADRA logo?
Paliy: I want to support the activities of this charitable organization, which helps people who find themselves in difficult life circumstances, as well as those affected by natural disasters. ADRA unites caring people who profess the values of mercy and compassion, with the goal of practical implementation of their Christian beliefs to solve the most pressing social and humanitarian problems. In addition, ADRA annually initiates a large number of projects aimed at developing and teaching various skills. I am glad that I can support this good cause by participating in the race.
Klopov: When I was offered to participate in this event and run in an ADRA T-shirt, I immediately agreed, since the activities of this charitable organization have long been familiar to me. As a member of the Adventist Church, its principles and goals are close to mine. Therefore, I support the activities of this organization, which provides assistance to people affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters, and those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
DaD: How do you feel when you know that your participation in the race helps support a good cause?
Klopov: You know, this is a good feeling. You are running among thousands of marathon participants, the words “ADRA” [and] “Justice. Compassion. Love.” are written on your clothes. And during the race, you behave accordingly—don’t rush, don’t push, carry the trash to the trash can.
DaD: What advice would you give to those who are planning to take part in a charity race for the first time?
Klopov: Firstly, you need to prepare physically for long races; you need to [endurance train] so that your muscles gradually get used to the long distance; you need a certain amount of short and long distances, almost equivalent to a marathon, in order to know how your body will react during the distance itself. Secondly, your moral qualities and principles of life must correspond to the charitable causes that you are going to promote at the race.
In conclusion, people participate in charity marathons for a variety of reasons. Whether it's supporting a cause, remembering a loved one, overcoming personal challenges, connecting with your community, or prioritizing your health, these events provide a powerful platform for people to make a difference in the world. ADRA Russia provides a positive influence and support where it is needed. ADRA's motto is, “By changing one life, we change the whole world.” You can always find out about ADRA projects in Russia and support the activities of this organization by writing to info@ adra.org.ru or visiting the website, https://adra.org.ru.
Editor's Note: ADRA is the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—part of the 21.9 million-member Adventist community consisting of hundreds of thousands of churches worldwide and the world's largest integrated health and education network. ADRA provides assistance and development assistance to people in more than 120 countries, regardless of their gender or ethnic, political, or religious affiliation.