The Invictus Games Foundation has supported riders from various countries as they cycled hundreds of kilometres through Slovakia, Hungary, and finished in Romania as part of the Tree of Peace Cycling Relay. The relay started on September 17, 2022 in Zvolen (Slovakia) and featured seven Invictus Games alumni from Romania, three from Ukraine and two participants from the United Kingdom.
“During the four days of pedaling, we had a unique experience not only because there were many kilometers to travel and it represented a good training, but because we were three teams from three nations, each with their own special experience that contributed to group unity.
“I pedaled with a smile on my face and with the spirit of Invictus and peace in my soul,” said Master Seargeant Taifas Marius Bertoni, from Romania.
This project was established to honour the sacrifice of the Romanian military and to commemorate 100 years of the end of World War 1, while promoting friendship between all nations. The relay was organised by the Armed Forces of Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, the charity Servare et Manere, and the Invictus Romania Association.
The international Invictus community members who joined the relay were all selected via the We Are Invictus platform for international wounded injured and sick service personnel and veterans, run by the Invictus Games Foundation. UK participant Kyle James Burgess, covered a total of 467km during his time on the relay, with double cycling sessions a daily occurrence. He cycled 166.24km on the first day alone and by the end of the relay, he had burned nearly 10,000 calories.
Irinel Matei of Team Romania added that, “We pedaled with wonderful people from the Romanian team, the UK team and the Ukrainian team, over 1000 km and we managed to complete this challenge in the proposed time. The weather conditions were not always favorable, but the iron will of the whole team made the distance seem small and we were a real team.”
The relay culminated in a tree planting ceremony at Carol I Park. The 29th Tree of Peace, to celebrate the International Day of Peace, was planted in Bucharest following the mammoth 1000km cycling relay.
Congratulations to all the participants!
Matei Gheorghe Irinel
Taifas Marius Bertoni
Ola Sergiu Adrian
Basuc Gigi Marian
Kyle James Burgess
Captain Dmytro Branytskyi
Captain Pavlo Volovyk
‘We Are Invictus’, supported by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, and the Veteran’s Foundation, is a free platform for all international wounded, injured and sick (WIS) armed forces personnel, serving or veteran, providing a safe and secure space for the community.
The platform provides opportunities for recovery through sports beyond the Games alongside a peer-to-peer support network. Activities range from sports, esports, adventurous challenge, employment, volunteering, speaking opportunities and more.
We Are Invictus can be downloaded as an app or accessed via www.weareinvictus.co.uk