It is 01:23 Saturday 26 April 1986, and during safety tests at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, something has gone horribly wrong and reactor 4 has gone into meltdown, causing a massive explosion. Radioactive particles are billowing into the atmosphere, and the world’s worst nuclear disaster has begun. The cold war is still in progress, the Soviet Union is in total denial about the accident and so your only means of escape is using your own (environmentally friendly) energy.
This is the introduction to a brilliant event organised for us by one of our star fundraisers, Julie Raftery.
Choose whether to run, cycle, swim, walk, row, cross train, in fact any distance-based exercise you want to use (or a combination of any of them) the 2665 miles back to safety, alone or as a team. You have 12 months to complete if you enter by April 26th 2021, so that is only 51.25 miles per week (most dog owners walk over 1 mile a day) and you can have as many members in your team as you choose, and you can even add more members along the way!
The great escape has already begun with 253 participants and 50 teams fleeing Chernobyl right now! Watch their progress as they travel across Europe to safety.
It’s not too late to join them. You can find out more and sign up to take part here.
The map below shows the radiation fallout in the most contaminated parts of Belarus. Here you can watch how it spread across Europe in the days after the accident.
The monument to Vasily Ignatenko, one of the Firemen who died two weeks after the accident (his wife Ludmilla was a major character in the ‘Chernobyl’ series on HBO)
Reactor No 4 just after the accident
The ‘sarcophagus’ which was hastily built around the reactor
A teenager’s depiction of the pain of being evacuated from the countryside around Chernobyl
A woman outside her wooden house in a village in the exclusion zone
A memorial to the villages which were buried and removed from the map
A radiation sign forbidding entry to an area near Chernobyl
One of the many radiation signs which are still seen in the forests up to 200 kms from Chernobyl today