Ukrainian soldier who ran London Marathon to gift medal to help fundraiser

An amputee Ukrainian soldier who ran the London Marathon has said he will gift his medal to the person who donates the largest amount of money to his fundraising campaign to help seriously injured soldiers.

Active Ukrainian marine Heorhii Roshka, 32, ran in the marathon on Sunday alongside fellow marine Oleksii Rudenko, 28, with the pair completing the course in around five hours.

Mr Roshka had his arm amputated in a bunker during the siege of Azovstal, while Mr Rudenko lost his leg after he stepped on a mine during a combat mission in eastern Ukraine, and now both men use prosthetics.

They are planning to return to Ukraine in the coming days, where Mr Rudenko will continue his army service while Mr Roshka will carry on with his rehabilitation treatment.

Speaking through a translator, Mr Roshka told the PA news agency: “I’ll be supplying my medal from the finisher of this race as a gift to help boost the fundraising.

Heorhii Roshka at the London Marathon
Heorhii Roshka at the London Marathon (Hlib Stryzhko/PA)

“The person who gives the biggest or largest donation can get this medal as part of my fundraising campaign.”

With their participation in the marathon, the servicemen are raising money to help seriously injured soldiers with rehabilitation and prosthetics.

They are also hoping to raise awareness for Ukrainian soldiers in captivity and they carried flags at the marathon which read: “Freedom for captured Ukrainian marines”.

“We have to attract additional attention to fundraising and to highlight the message of the Ukrainian soldiers in captivity,” Mr Roshka said.

“People are not raising the subject of those in captivity anymore and there are a lot of people in captivity waiting for immediate release.”

The men at the London Marathon holding a Ukrainian flag
Oleksii Rudenko and Heorhii Roshka at the London Marathon with adaptive athlete and rehabilitation coach Slava Kulakovskyi (Dmytro Morkotonov/PA)

In May 2022, Mr Rosha took up a combat position in the Azovstal steel plant and after being hit by a mine, he retreated to a bunker in the steel plant where his arm was amputated.

Less than two weeks later he was forced to surrender and was taken captive with his fellow Ukrainian soldiers in a hospital in Donetsk for a month-and-a-half before he was eventually freed as part of a prisoner swap.

The servicemen added that their “message to the rest of the world” is that they need “more weapons” and “quickly”.

Mr Roshka said that the Ukrainian army was given “used and old weapons” that “weren’t very modern” and resulted in a “negative” effect.

“All people available, men and even women, are on the frontline and we need more weapons in order to fight,” he said.

The men at the London Marathon holding flags
Oleksii Rudenko, Heorhii Roshka and Slava Kulakovskyi at the London Marathon (Dmytro Morkotonov/PA)

“We are getting weapons in very small parts and there’s always a kind of delay.

“It means we are losing people, we are losing country.

“Our message to the rest of the world is that we need more and quickly.”

On running the London Marathon, Mr Rudenko told PA: “The hardest work is in the guys being on the front line right now and the best I could do is run the marathon in order to help fundraise for the people that need immediate help.”

He added: “The hardest part for me was before the finish line because I saw a sign saying it was only 500 metres to go.

“I can run and run, but after seeing that was pretty hard.”

Mr Roshka said the marathon was a “challenge” but it was “exciting” to take part.

The men at the London Marathon standing on a field
Heorhii Roshka said he felt ‘excited’ the challenge of the London Marathon had been ‘fulfilled’ (Dmytro Morkotonov/PA)

“It was hard in the middle of the race due to my injuries, I had some pain in my back and my leg with an injury I got in the war,” he said.

He added that when crossing the finish line, he “forgot about his pain” and was “so glad” to have his medal in his hand.

“I felt excitement that this challenge had been fulfilled,” he said.

The servicemen added that they ran together side by side and cheered each other on during the marathon.

“We found it positive that we managed to achieve the goal to share our message and increase awareness around limbless veterans and injured people,” Mr Roshka said.

With their efforts, they are also raising money for two injured Ukrainian soldiers through the Citizen Charity Foundation.

To find out more, visit Heorhii Roshka’s fundraising page at and Olesksii Rudenko’s page at–rudenko .