The Doroga Zhizni (Road of Life) has a special place in the city’s history. During WW2, St Petersburg was under siege for 900 days, with only a few supplies provided by the Arctic Convoys travelling the perilous journey to Arkhangelsk or the Soviet forces reaching the city. Supplies were brought across the ice of frozen Lake Ladoga and along the Road of Life to the city.
The Memorial, a 6 petalled flower, commemorates the lifting of the siege on January 27th 1944. 900 birch trees are marked with a red ribbon tied around them to mark each day.
Every year, the road is closed around this time to stage the annual Road of Life marathon. 42km in sub-zero conditions along the road. I ran in it in 2019, when the temperature was minus 15, but the sun was shining bright and hardy babushkas were handing out warm tea along the way. I thought, once I had crossed the finish line and climbed into the heated bus — ‘this is easy, compared to living for 3 years without heating, electricity and hardly any food’.
The run is probably more popular than any other in the city – entry numbers are limited, and it’s a fierce competition to get in – but on November 1st every year (when registration opens) there are limited slots available to foreign runners. Ask me how to enter if you’re interested!