The Relay to Ukraine
May 18th - June 30th, 2024

Donated 161 900 € (20.6.2024)

104 %
 

 

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1,561 km on foot should raise €156,100 for Ukraine

We shouldn't forget Ukraine. That's why a group of Finns is rowing, hiking, and running all the way from Helsinki to Lviv in Ukraine. The goal for the "Relay to Ukraine" is to raise at least €156,100 – one hundred euros per kilometer.

Six countries. 42 days. 1561 kilometers. 15,211 rowing strokes. 1.9 million steps.

 

That's the Relay to Ukraine in a nutshell. A group of Finns plans to reach Ukraine under their own power by rowing, hiking, and running all the way to the war-torn country. They carry with them a relay baton containing an important message – a parchment rolled up in the baton – about Finland's unwavering support for Ukraine.

”Everyone can join in supporting Ukraine. For the donations, we are buying ambulances that we will then deliver to Ukraine ourselves. Every cent goes to Ukraine.”

That's what Finnish journalist and entrepreneur Magnus Londen, one of the initiators of the Relay, says.

”Actually, it was my son Fabian Londen's idea. Last year, he walked from Turku to the Ukrainian Embassy in Helsinki and raised €24,000. Now he has his own leg in the Relay, but together we'll try to multiply both the distance and the amount of donations by six.”

Rowing to Tallinn

The Relay will have an active presence on TikTok and Instagram with daily updates. It kicks off at a huge school sports festival in Helsinki at the Olympic Stadium on May 18, 2024. A group of Ukrainian youths runs out of the stadium and then hands over the relay baton to a group of stand-up paddleboarders at Töölönlahti. They paddle to the Market Square at the southern tip of Helsinki. There, they hand over the relay baton to the Atlantic rower Markus Mustelin and Gael de Crevoisier, who row to Tallinn.

”It will be about twenty hours in the rowboat. But a little muscle soreness and sore fingers are of course nothing compared to what the Ukrainians have endured for over two years” says Mustelin.

Scouts and ultramarathon runners

In the Estonian capital, the actual march begins. Two Finnish scout groups walk over 300 km to Riga in Latvia. And so it continues. The baton is passed forward, kilometer after kilometer, towards Ukraine, and on June 30, they are expected to arrive at the city hall in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. The route goes along smaller roads, sand, gravel, and asphalt, but also through cities. The entire hike is filmed with a GoPro camera from start to finish.

The participants stay overnight in a camper van, but the rules are clear: Every centimeter to the mayor's residence in Lviv must be covered on foot.

But exactly how to do it is up to the teams themselves. One team walks at a leisurely pace for a week. Another team, like the Bold Projects group, which has completed similar challenges before, runs around the clock. If everything goes as planned, they will cover 344 km in two days.

Additionally, the runner and social media phenomenon John Hellsten will be responsible for a leg of 151 km.

In total, there will be ten different legs with a wide range of participants: young and old, women and men.

”We have both running enthusiasts and so-called ordinary people. The point of the relay is to show that together we are strong and that Finland stands behind a free Ukraine”, Londen emphasizes.

Anyone can support

Anyone can support the Relay on the organization's website. Every cent is publicly accounted for, and the project has zero euros in administrative costs: everyone works voluntarily.

For the funds raised, several four-wheel-drive and fully equipped ambulances and emergency medical equipment are purchased. The project itself drives the ambulances down to Ukraine after the Relay is completed. The ambulances are handed over to an established grassroots movement in Ukraine and will serve at the frontlines in southeastern Ukraine.

The Relay is organized by the Finnish charity organization ”Karavanen till Ukraina rf”. The organization started as a spontaneous idea among friends in Helsinki and has raised nearly one million euros for Ukraine in one year.

 

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