Monday, April 14, 2014

Of marathons and mayham

Another uncertain weekend gone by, another Saturday and Sunday that fit the pattern:
Saturday = more or less normal, Sunday = mass protests, marches, violence.

There's something about Sundays... they've become a day to dread in eastern Ukraine. It's like Monday through Saturday people go to work and school, do the grocery shopping, live спокойно (calmly), and then Sunday comes and there's some madness in the air. It could be said that things are tense 24/7, but on Sundays people are ready for war.

Saturday @ Freedom Square:

We caught the tail end of the MTC Kharkiv International Marathon that afternoon.

Families, couples, and friends strolled through the mainly empty Freedom Square.

There were TONS of police in the area, most of them not on the streets but rather cooped up in buses and lounging near bus doors in riot gear. They seemed pretty relaxed, laughing and joking with each other.

A handful stood guard in front of a local government building. The Ukrainian flag fluttered in the breeze high above.

According to the official website, around 10,000 people- representing 16 countries!- took part in the race this year, including an 82-year-old and even a 3-month-old :p

It was 4 PM by the time we arrived, so the event was pretty much over. The bleachers were empty, a few dozen people were clumped around a stage with dancers, another dozen waited for friends and family at the finish line.

I wish we could have seen the energy and enthusiasm that were surely present that morning! Maybe we'll have to come back another year to cheer on the participants.

Did get to see a few runners though : )

Props to this finisher!

Another crowd lingered around Lenin, their usual placards and orange/black striped ribbons on display, but everyone was calm. Random pedestrians wandered through the mass of people and most of the crowd seemed content to watch the final marathoners jog by.

But that, of course, was Saturday.

Sunday @ Freedom Square:

warning: this video is quite violent : (

It happened here.

So as to not leave you on that totally dismal note, here are two good things, also from this weekend:

Spring blossoms!!

And who can resist tasty Ukrainian food?
Rost supermarket café


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the mundane with us, what a shame the world thrives on the sensational! Keep up the excellent output :-)

    1. Yes, I was surprised to not see any coverage of the marathon... but I guess it was overshadowed by what followed. Thanks for the share, Rupert!

  2. Odd, that it's only one day a week - as if they don't have time to bothered with "war" whilst going on about normal business the other six days. Stay Safe! Love those blossoms!!

    1. Thanks, Joyce!! : ) You guys are probably seeing a little spring these days too, right?

  3. Great post, combining the everyday and the political tensions. I also come to fear Sundays now, although thankfully in Ivano-Frankivsk nothing much is happening and let's hope next Sunday, which is Easter, no one will think it apt to disrupt the holiday anywhere in Ukraine.
    Stay safe.

    1. I hope you and your wife have a great Easter weekend in IF. Христос воскрес!

  4. Thanks for showing something different from all that madness which overflows media reports. Even when we call our friends, all they talk about is fights (they are on different sides and stopped talking to each other). Great to see that there is also something normal, something different out there.

    1. Hi Sergey, it's good to hear from you again. Glad you enjoyed this post! Sorry to hear about your friends being divided by current events. It's the same at D's work... some are for Russia, others are dead set against anything Russian, and often everyone is walking on eggshells just to get through the day. It was nice to see something like a marathon that united people instead of dividing them. We need more of that.

  5. Hi Katherine,
    Having read through your blog, your writings of Ukraine have been extremely interesting. I thought our programme may be of interest to you. We’d be delighted if you saw fit to embed or comment on or ‘vote for’ our programme just shot on British attitudes to the Ukraine situation.

    1. Hi Ceri! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm excited to watch your program... headed to the site now! : )

  6. Fascinating post and nice photos. Thank you so much for sharing.