I imagine there is not another marathon which has a two- continent route past spectacular monuments with great historical and cultural heritage.
The 35th Istanbul marathon was held on November 17th 2013, and were we fortunate with the weather….
Istanbul has been the capital of three magnificient empires in history: Roman Empire (330-395), Byzantine Empire (395-1453), and Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Thus, the city has been known with different names throughout history: Byzantium, Constantinople and Stambul.
The 10 km race I participated in was so visually stimulating, so magnetizing, so outstanding that it was simply sublime. There were runners from all parts of the world who had come to enjoy the delightful route. And for myself, I once again fell in love with this splendid city I live in.
The race started on the Asian side of the Bosphorus bridge, allowing runners to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Bosphorus, stepping foot in Europe, along the elegant Dolmabahce Palace where our great leader Ataturk passed away 75 years ago, past Galata bridge crossing the Golden Horn where fishermen were cheering on the runners, ending in Eminonu, the heart of the walled city of Constantine.
Green was the colour code of the 10 km runners which I enjoyed thorougly, as I had donated my proceeds to CEKUL – The Foundation for the Promotion and Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage.
The marathon was kicked off by some cheerful pieces by a wonderfully energetic band. In fact there were musicians along the route cheering on the runners, injecting spirit and stamina to the competition. A little more public support would have been the cherry on the cake.
Great weather added to the joy of the race, contributing to the elation of the participants and allowing for me to capture many colourful images.
There were those in amusing costumes.
There were super grans.
There were many who added to the charm with myriad mottos on their t-shirts. Some were running for “kindness” , some to raise funds for scolarships, some for the physically impaired, some with our great leader Ataturk on their hearts and minds, some carrying our flag along.
There were those carrying out random acts of kindness giving a ride to the fatigued in the uphill section of the course with their bikes.
From start to finish the scenery was incredibly dazzling.
There were many taking ‘souvenir’ photos in front of the “Welcome to Europe” sign and by the rainbow coloured stairs in Findikli.
At the end of the day I have two aching legs, two slightly battered shoes with the chip still attached and a medal to be proud of myself adding to the unsurpassable contentment of achievement.
HIP HIP HOORAY!!!