Summer fun: Turkey's best races

Setting your sights on completing a marathon, or fractions of one, can be an excellent way to get fit and friendly with other competitors. Couple that with discovering some of the most spectacular sites in Turkey and it's a win-win. The following summary is your guide to the most famous and frequented marathons and sporting events for sports-lovers this season in Turkey.

July 22 - Bosporus Cross-Continental Swimming Race: The Samsung Bosporus Cross-Continental Swimming Race is an annual event in which swimmers cross from Istanbul's Asian to European shore in the Bosporus, this year set to take place this Sunday, July 22. Named the best open-water swimming race in the world by the World Open Water Swimming Association, it is also the only swimming competition in the world organized between two continents.

Taking place for the 30th time this year, there will be nearly 2,500 participants competing in 12 different age categories swimming 6.5 kilometers. While registration for this competition came to a close in March, this race is still a joyous sight to behold as swimmers make their way across the Bosporus, in which all boat traffic is stopped for the day, starting at 10 a.m. from the Kanlıca ferry port on the Asian side of the city to end up at Kuruçeşme Cemil Topuzlu Park in Europe.

July 22 - Reebok Mud Race in Şile: On Sunday, July 22, Turkey's first and only obstacle mud race, the Reebok Mud Race, will be taking place in Şile's Yeşilvadi. There will be a 5K set up with nearly 30 obstacles, a majority of which involve mud, making for a fun way to test your "Survivor" or "Ninja Warrior" skills. You do not need to be a trained athlete to compete; however, there is a separate elite athletes' 5K that kicks off the event at 10 a.m. There will also be special short courses set up for children aged 4 to 12 as well as children's workshops and sports seminars throughout the day.

July 27 - Garmin Runfire Salt Lake Ultra Trail: Held by Uzunetap, who as the name suggests organizes longer runs, will be hosting Runfire Salt Lake at Lake Tuz in central Anatolia. The race will take place in four different categories: A 21K Half-marathon, a 42K Marathon, an 80 Ultra Trail and 100 mile run.

Sept. 2 - Dokuz Eylül Half Marathon '18: On Sunday, Sept. 2, the Dokuz Eylül Half Marathon, a half marathon at just under 22K, will have participants running along the seaside of Izmir for a race starting at 8 a.m.

Sept. 8 - Night Run in the Belgrade Forest: The night run series Under Armour Belgrade Forest Night Run, which takes place in Istanbul's beloved Belgrade Forest and is organized by Uzunetap, resumes with a 5K and a 12K run on Saturday, Sept. 8 starting at 6 p.m.

Sept 15, 16 - The Phyrgian Valley Ultramarathon: The Phyrgian Valley Ultramarathon, also known as The Frig Ultra, will take place in the Phrygian Valley in the province of Afyonkarahısar. In addition to races in the 9K, 23K and 54K categories, there will also be a 2K Castle run, which ends at the Afyonkarahisar Castle, taking place over the weekend of Sept. 15 to 16.

Sept. 28, 30 - Lycian Way Ultra Marathon: Famed as Turkey's first ultra-marathon, the Lycian Way Ultra Marathon used to cover 250K of the stunning walking path overlooking the Mediterranean on the southern coast. This year, there will be five different runs set up starting with a 13K, a 30K, a 55K, a 130K and a whopping 180K. While the shorter races will take place among views of Ölüdeniz, the longer races will have runners heading all the way to Kaş and Demre.

Oct 5, 7 - Bodrum Half Marathon: Starting Friday, Oct. 5 and running through the weekend, the Bodrum Half Marathon will have a 5K, 10K and 21K that will kick off at 10 a.m. from Bodrum's city center and take participants past the ancient amphitheater and Myndos Gate. There will also be a wide number of activities seminars, workshops and activities for children on the sidelines of this two-day event.

Oct. 7 - Eker I Run in Bursa: On Sunday, Oct. 7, runners can take part in the 14K Eker I Run, which takes place in pretty Bursa.

Oct. 7 - Ultimate Büyükada: The 2nd Ultimate Büyükada will have an 11.5K run and a 2K swim and the option to compete in both races, which will take place on the largest of the Princes' Islands on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Oct. 13,14 - Kaş Yarımadaton: Over the weekend Oct. 13-14, Kaş Yarımadaton will be a 12K and a 21K run in the popular holiday destination of Kaş.

Oct. 14 - Turkcell Gallipoli Marathon: On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Turkcell Gallipoli Marathon will have 42K, 21K, 10K and 5 K runs taking place on the historical peninsula.

Oct. 14 - Adidas Geyik Runs: Adidas Geyik Runs is a series of runs that take place in Belgrade Forest in Sarıyer. Taking place on Sunday, Oct. 14, there will be a 4K, 14K, 28K and Bambi run for 4 to 12 year-olds.

Oct. 20, 21 - Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail: The Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail is exclusively for elite athletes as the Short Trail is 38.4K, the Medium Trail is 63.6K and the Ultra Trail is 119K and all take runners through the magnificent vistas of the historical fairy chimneys of spectacular Cappadocia.

Oct. 28 - Dalyan Caretta Run: The Dalyan Caretta Run is a 5K, 14K and 21K set in the picturesque lake town of Dalyan with paths heading to İztuzu Beach, a breeding ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles, on Sunday Oct. 28 starting at 9 a.m.

Nov. 11 - 40th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon: On Sunday, Nov. 11, the 40th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon will have a 42K, 15K, 10K and a Fun Run with participants crossing continents during the course that will kick off on the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge with 15 minute intervals starting at 9 a.m.

Nov. 24 - Bodrun: On Saturday, Nov. 24, the beautiful Bodrum peninsula will be the setting for this 100K, 55k, 23K, 10K and children's run.

Dec. 1 - Ida Ultra: Closing out the year will be the Ida Ultra, a 100K, 60K, 36K and 15K that takes place in the forested villages of Mount Ida, where Çanakkale and Balıkesir meet at the Aegean Sea.

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