- April 17, 2023
The “Wolf’s Trail” run: A tribute to the soldiers of the second conspiracy
“Welcome everyone to the 9th edition of the ‘Wolf Trail’ Run in Vilnius,” Łukasz Kamiński, the host of the outdoor event, greeted those gathered on a rainy Sunday morning in Zakret. This year, a record number of participants gathered for the run dedicated to the cursed soldiers.
The 9th edition of the Wolf Trail Run took place on April 16. The organizers of the event were the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius, Polish youth from the Vilnius region and the “Sporto renginiai” association. “We have a record number of participants. Symbolically, there are 900 participants in the 9th run,” informed Łukasz Kamiński just before the start.
The chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Dudziński, took part in the run. “It is a great honor and pleasure that the embassy can be a partner of this project. It is extremely important that we can commemorate Polish and Lithuanian heroes here in Vilnius, who were not afraid to take up the fight against the Soviet invader. After all, they were not only steadfast soldiers, but a similar role was taken on and played by the “forest brothers” (the name of the anti-communist partisans in Lithuania – editor’s note)” – the Polish diplomat reminded the gathered audience.
The defense attaché of the Polish embassy in Vilnius, Colonel Sławomir Pawlikowski, also spoke at the start. “Together, we can symbolically celebrate the cursed soldiers. Soldiers of the anti-communist and pro-independence Polish underground. Our presence today, in this place, is a tribute to the soldiers of the second conspiracy” – emphasized the military man, adding that the participants of the run commemorate people who are exemplars of “patriotic and civic attitude”.
According to the organizers, the aims of the project, in addition to honoring the soldiers of the anti-Nazi, anti-communist and anti-Soviet underground, are: developing contacts with other cities organizing runs, promoting Lithuania and Vilnius among foreigners, running and athletics in Lithuania as well as physical activity and a healthy life style.
Representatives of Polish schools and institutions in Lithuania took part in the run. History teacher at the junior high school of John Paul II, Wiktor Łozowski, informed “Kurier Wileński” that their school has been participating in the event for eight years. This year, 50 students from grades 1-4 are registered.
– We see an educational element in this event, patriotic and civic education. This is the course of our work, education outside school – comments the teacher.
The event started at 10.00 with a symbolic run on 1,963 m. The number of meters refers to the year of death of the last cursed soldier, Józef Franczak, alias “Lalek”, who died fighting during the manhunt in Majdan Kozic Górne on October 21, 1963. There were also runs over a distance of 5.2 km and 10.5 km and a half-marathon. About 100 people took part in the half-marathon, which was 21 km long. “The half-marathon came naturally, because the event is becoming more and more popular every year,” said Evaldas Martinka, president of the “Sporto renginiai” association.
The winners of the run in the 5.2 km category run were: Dzmitry Dabravolski, Žygimantas Juodeikis, Rokas Sakalauskas, Danielė Šatikaitė, Tatjana Sakalauskienė, Zuzana Liachovič.
The winners of the 10.5 km run were: Andrius Šipkinas, Egidijus Juzonis, Simas Stasiukaitis, Lina Vasiljevienė, Ugnė Baltrušaitytė and Greta Briedytė.
The winners of the half marathon were: Frank van Lieshout, Martynas Rašinskas, Vytautas Gražys, Monika Naskauskė, Lina Buinauskienė, Evelina Šalomskaitė.
The partner of the Run of Remembrance of the Cursed Soldiers “Wolf Trail” was the Lithuanian Army, which organized a presentation of weapons.
The first edition of the “Wolf Trail” Run took place in Poland in 2013. The event came to Lithuania two years later. The originator of the run was the Freedom and Democracy Foundation. The first run in Poland was attended by 50 participants, but after seven years the run was already held in over 300 cities in Poland and abroad. Currently, annual runs in memory of the Cursed Soldiers outside Poland are organized, among others, in in Chicago, London, New York and Vienna. Runs were also organized in Polish military missions located outside the borders of the Republic of Poland. Among others, in recent years the event was held in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo, Latvia and the Central African Republic.
Translated by Aleksandra Bukhovets within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.