When Oksana Skrynyk signed up for the Life Time Chicago Spring Half Marathon, she left a brief registration declaration: "I will run this marathon for my home country, Ukraine."
The 32-year-old Palatine resident is originally from Chortkiv, a city located in the Ternopil region of Western Ukraine, and moved to the United States with her family in 2018. With her roots in mind, Skrynyk will set off on her first half-marathon venture May 22.
“I am Ukrainian — this is my motivation, my story, my pain and my pride," Skrynyk said in a statement.
In light of the Russia-Ukraine war, Skrynyk is devoting her 13.1-mile run — which is a feat she had dreamed of accomplishing since 2009 — to her home country.
“My every single step will be a prayer and an act of support for a scared Ukrainian child with their name and phone number on their back, for each baby born in the bomb shelter, for each new mother who protected her body and little miracle, and for Ukraine’s most wonderful, brave warriors who are motivation to the world," Skrynyk said in a statement.
As Russia and Ukraine’s entrenchment in conflict nears three months, a resolution doesn’t seem to be near in sight.
With the lead up to the marathon inching closer, Skrynyk said she will keep the Ukrainian people in her thoughts on her journey to the finish line.
“I run for those who have already walked their path to the end, those who are struggling, fear to be killed and who are unable to walk freely in the streets,” Skrynyk said in a statement.
Skrynyk is a part of a group of more than 6,000 runners who will embark on the half marathon throughout the city later this month.