Group to cycle shape of Ukraine around Frome, Warminster, Westbury and Trowbridge

The ride will trace the shape of Ukraine

A group of nine friends are planning to cycle a 100km route which traces the shape of Ukraine to raise money for the war-torn country.

Anglo-Ukrainian Maks Oberemokhas, 22, has organised the challenge for this Sunday, 26 February, to mark the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

In March last year, the group raised £22,000 for Ukraine with a half marathon from Trowbridge to Bath. Now they hope to raise another £5,000.

The friends after their fundraising half marathon last year

Many of Maks’ family are from the Ukrainian city of Sumy, which is just a few miles from the Russian border.

After a terrifying few months, his grandma and some others were able to flee the area and find sponsorship in the UK.

They are now living close to Maks’ family home in Trowbridge.

Maks said: “I’ve still got family there who can’t leave. They are being terrorised by artillery rounds and rockets that are randomly being fired over their village.

"I recently spoke to one of my friends and his mental health is really suffering from the constant shelling.

“I’m so relieved to have some of my family here though, many of them I hadn’t seen for three and a half years.

"We’ve been having lots of big dinners - my grandma won’t stop cooking for us all!

“We appreciate any support people can give. This war is still going on and all Ukrainians are struggling. Every donation means so much to us.”

Maks Oberemokhas and Jake Nickerson

On Sunday the friends will set off from Trowbridge, before heading in a loop that passes Frome, Warminster and Westbury.

They expect the ride to take eight hours. Mr Oberemokhas said: “It was tricky making a route that matched the shape of Ukraine.

"To make it work we’ll have to do some really big hills. It’s going to be a struggle!

“We’ll be stopping every 25km so people can come and support us if they want.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…