A worldwide celebrated victory for the Ukrainian athlete Valentyna Kiliarska Veretska, winner last Friday of the Jerusalem marathon with a time of just over two hours and 45 minutes. A victory that goes beyond sport since Veretska just a few weeks ago left Ukraine with her 11-year-old daughter Alisa, taking refuge in Poland. Their house was destroyed by the Russians, her husband Pavlo is fighting in their city of Mykolaiv.
“Ukrainians are people who do not give up and I am here to prove it,” she said meeting Pagine Ebraiche before the marathon. Words that she transformed into a result with a huge symbolic value: the first edition of this race, one of the most fascinating in its kind around the world, is her. Nobody will take away this immense joy, also celebrated by a few tears of emotion.
The athlete, warmly welcomed into the city by Mayor Moshe Lion, showed herself at the finish with two flags: the Ukrainian and the Israeli. “I feel very positive vibes. Everyone is helping me, demonstrating interest in what I went through”, her words of gratitude. Mayor Lion said he was delighted “to have made your dream of competing in Jerusalem a fact, especially in such a complicated time”.
Many have ideally raced alongside Valentyna, waving flags and wearing yellow and blue T-shirts. The athlete was moved by that attention and dedicated her victory “to Ukraine, to those who are suffering, to my families: I hope I have made them proud”. His goal is to return next year and win it again, but this time accompanied by her loved ones.