From Gdańsk to Berlin: Runners take on 675km challenge to raise money for charity and seal Polish-German relations
A team of runners are running the 675 km between Gdańsk and Berlin to raise money for charity, while highlighting the importance of good relations between Poland and Germany.
This year’s “Freedom Run” is being run by seven runners. The money raised will be used to support two educational projects: to buy equipment for the Home for Autistic Children in Poznań, Poland, and to continue last year’s fundraising efforts for the expansion of the school in Kibeho, Rwanda.
The run begins today on 1 September, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, which began in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.
It was inaugurated by former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, the leader of the Solidarity trade union which played a key role in the collapse of communism.
In addition to raising money, the run aims to highlight the importance of good neighbourly relations between Poland and Germany, over seventy years after the end of the war.
This is the eighth run of its kind. In each case, the run has been pegged to a major historical anniversary. For example, last year’s run, from Gdańsk to Milan, was held thirty years after the fall of communism in Central Europe. The route passed through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, among other countries.
Over the years, the run has raised over 600,000 złoty (around 137,000 euros), which has been used to help children in Ukraine, Latvia, Nepal, Germany, Syria, Lebanon and Poland. All the money goes to charity, with the runners or sponsors covering the cost of the race, including equipment.
The runners are members of international volunteer network the Lions Club, which has been present in Poland since 1989. Their names are Mariusz Szeib, Dominika Bońkowska, Dariusz Bońkowski, Arkadiusz Dybiec, Mateusz Pietruliński, Jacek Trębecki and Susanne Hindahl-Reede,
The route has been divided into six stages, each of them slightly over 100 km long, over six days. The runners are expected to finish the race in Berlin on 6 September.