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    They went around the world 50 times!

    This is not a simple algebraic operation. Eleven editions, easy to count. A sure indicator is the length of the equator – 40,075 km. The rest are just estimates. This is because most often more runners turned up at the starting line of local runs than estimated. When the military, both in Poland and in the NATO allied peacekeeping missions, started to run in the Tropem Wilczym Run (Eng: Following Wolves – ed.), also these distances were covered by more runners. And even the distance, the obligatory one for 1963, is not a rigid parameter, as many organisers additionally offer runs at distances of 5 and 10 km and thousands of runners choose such long routes. 

    Tropem Wilczym: World’s Largest Memorial Run

    But even with these most modest parameters, the Tropem Wilczym Run, which is the largest memorial run in the world, has already circumnavigated the globe at least 50 times! 

    It all started with a group of 20 people, who 10 years ago ran 1963 metres through the forest (to commemorate the year 1963, when the last Indomitable Soldier in armed struggle – Józef Franczak alias  Lalek – died). 

    The next run was a capital city event, the third edition spread across Poland and the fourth ran around the world. Currently, about a thousand places on all continents take part in Tropem Wilczym – Bieg Pamięci Żołnierzy Wyklętych (Eng: Wolf Trail – Run in Memory of Cursed Soldiers). 

    Let’s commemorate Heroes

    It is organised by schools, municipal and commune offices, parishes, sports clubs, foundations, associations, and community leaders. The initiators are often young people. Everyone takes part, from children to the elderly, from athletes to those who have never reached the step limit in the popular fitness apps. Whole families appear at the starting line, including the youngest in prams, couples in love holding hands over the entire distance, organised groups of friends from work or the neighbourhood, people with dogs, and older people with Nordic walking poles. 

    This year, the run takes place on 5 March, and you can join it in your town or city using the website tropemwilczym.org

    The beginning of March is the time when some will run in a winter setting, and some will have the aura of summer. On every continent, from Australia and New Zealand to the Americas, Africa, European cities and hundreds of Polish towns and cities this Sunday, we will commemorate Polish National Heroes. 

    This heroic fight against communism in Poland has never been more relevant

    This year’s run, even more than the previous one, makes the modern generation realise how much meaning and sense the attitude of the Cursed Soldiers had. How right they were to defend Poland against the communist regime. Today, when not only history but, unfortunately, also the reality from across the eastern border shows the consistent bestiality and destructive intentions of Russian totalitarianism – the sacrifice of the Indomitables refreshes the view of their mission and that it is our generations that are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice. 

    Poles celebrate with a run

    Ten years ago, about the Anti-Communist Armed Underground, we knew very little. Rather, these were family stories accompanied by a long-standing silence clause. When the National Day of Remembrance of Cursed Soldiers was established, various initiatives began to appear, drawing Polish history into public awareness. Tropem Wilczym – Bieg Pamięci Żołnierzy Wyklętych became a response to the need to do something common, family-oriented, and simply attractive.  

    In 2013, it took off for the first time. The organiser of the run is the “Wolnosć i Demokracja” Foundation. The Run has already become part of the tradition of commemorating this day of remembrance, it is in school textbooks. What’s more, the Run is accompanied by nationwide blood collections, first aid training, concerts, feasting together over soldier’s pea soup, meetings with witnesses of history, exhibitions, and book fairs. In other words, the project activates local communities to organise a day of wise and effective integration. It provides an opportunity for intergenerational activities, and family fun combined with education.  

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