Latvian Aivars Noviks-Grasis will cover the Baltic Way on foot

To commemorate the Baltic Way campaign and celebrate its 25th anniversary, Aivars Noviks-Grasis will walk from Vilnius through Riga to Tallinn along the exact same route as the live chain of people was formed 25 years ago, symbolising the protest of the three countries against the Molotov–Ribentropp pact and their efforts towards freedom.

Aivars is from Cēsis and is currently living in Belgium. One of the biggest passions in his life is dancing, which has given him the opportunity to travel around Europe, thus providing him with an open view of the world and a desire to find out as many and as different things as possible. Three years ago he started running and that changed many of his viewpoints and the way he sees himself, his daily life and future, making him realise that the biggest opponent of a human being is oneself. Aivars is 37 years old. He was inspired to do this hike along the Baltic Way by his 11-year-old son’s efforts towards his own little goals at school and in sports.

He was also inspired by the pilgrimage routes in Spain which lead to Santiago de Compostela and are nowadays taken as hikes and pilgrimages by walking, running and riding bicycles. Studying the Baltic Way and its milestones, history and meaning, he grew more convinced each day that in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way such a pilgrimage should be made in the Baltics as well.

Currently, alongside geographical and historical studies, he is actively preparing for this rather extreme event physically as well. As 25 years ago people in the Baltic Way joined hands for 15 minutes, Aivars is planning to cover the distance on foot in 15 days, mostly by walking. It is expected that he will cover 40–50 km a day, spending 10–12 hours a day on the road. The total distance of the route could be around 707 km.

Aivars Noviks-Grasis will begin his marathon along the Baltic Way on 14 July around 6:00 a.m. from Gediminas Square in Vilnius. It is expected that he will arrive in Riga on 19 July and end his hike on 28 July in Tallinn.

With this campaign Aivars Noviks-Grasis is also promoting the project “The Baltic Way Stories” of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, which is implemented in cooperation with partners in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and retells the memories of the people who lived during that time and participated in the Baltic Way. During his journey, Aivars will also talk to people and listen to their stories.

Within the confines of the project “The Baltic Way Stories”, everyone is invited to tell their Baltic Way story and publish it on

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way campaign — a unique and peaceful mass demonstration during which more than a million people joined their hands to form a 600 km long live chain through the three Baltic countries, thus uniting Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in their efforts towards freedom. The documentary heritage of the Baltic Way consists of an archive of valuable documents. The most important documents, which were gathered by a nomination of all three Baltic states, were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register on 30 July 2009.