Thousands to run from Asia to Europe in Istanbul Marathon
Thousands of people will meet in Turkey’s biggest city on Nov. 13 to run the Istanbul Marathon, the world’s only road race where people can cross from Asia to Europe.
The 38th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon will host not only elite world athletes but also thousands of people who just want to challenge themselves by running in one of the four categories: Marathon, 15K, 10K and the eight-kilometer “Heroes Run,” which will be run to commemorate the people killed on the Bosporus Bridge – now known as the “July 15 Martyrs Bridge” – during the July 15 failed coup attempt.
The event has been a surprising success given the difficulties in finding space for regular running in the heaving, hilly metropolis.
While all the races will start on the Asian edge of the July 15 Bridge, the marathon will end on the historical European peninsula where the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are located.
The 15k and 10k races will end in the Eminönü district while the “Heroes Run” will finish in front of Dolmabahçe Palace, home to the last six Ottoman sultans.
The marathon also provides the only legal chance for people to cross the Bosporus Bridge on foot.
Ninety elite athletes will vie for the 38th Istanbul Marathon title, with 28 Turkish athletes among them.
Some of the top runners in the women’s category are Fatuma Sado and Sechale Dalasa from Ethiopia, Kenya’s Agnes Barsosio and Lithuania’s Diana Lobacevske.
The men’s category will bring together Kenyan athletes Peter Kiptoo Kiplagat and Vincent Kiprop Chepkok, Ethiopians Shura Kitata Tola, Tariku Jufar Robi and Birhanu Gedefa, Olekandr Sitkovskyy of Ukraine and Mumin Gala of Djibouti.
“I am delighted to welcome you to Istanbul,” Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said in an official message to the marathon participants.
“Once you have registered for the Istanbul Marathon, you become our very special guests who will experience the unique journey between two continents. Running from Asia to Europe through the history of one of the oldest settlements in the world is what makes your efforts so rewarding. I am sure your experience in the Istanbul Marathon will be memorable as well as enjoyable. Let’s meet where the continents meet.”
The idea of Istanbul Marathon started in 1978 when Turkish officials were informed that a group of German tourists who run marathons in the countries they visited would visit Istanbul the following year. It was then decided to realize the Eurasia Marathon project.
Having solved problems with the course and the traffic, the organizers invited elite Turkish athletes to the event as well. Finally, all preparations were completed and the marathoners, 34 of whom were from the 74-person tourist group, gathered at the starting point, 700 meters behind the Bosporus Bridge, becoming the first people to run a marathon from Asia to Europe.
Vodafone became the main sponsor of the event in 2012, while the name of the event was changed to the Istanbul Marathon in 2013.
As part of the Marathon, a number of NGOs have accepted donations from individuals or private sector teams willing to both participate in the event and contribute to the works carried out by these organizations.
A special platform “İyilik Peşinde Koş” (Run For a Good Cause) to bring donors and NGOs together for the events currently supports 30 organizations – including AKUT, AÇEV, TEGV, TEMA and UNICEF – and enables people who want to run in the annual Istanbul Marathon to make donations for a good cause. A team from daily Hürriyet is also participating in this year’s run and will represent the Koruncuk Foundation with its runners.