Organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and sponsored by Vodafone, Adidas and NTV Spor, the 36th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon will be held this weekend on Sunday, Nov. 16. The marathon has three categories: A full marathon of 42.195 kilometers, one of 15 kilometers and a 10-kilometer race. There will also be a Fun Walk (8 kilometers) for those supporting the cause. The starting area distance will be 250 meters to the Bosporus Bridge and the race will finish in front of the Sultanahmet Mosque in Sultanahmet Square. For those who are slow and steady, the race time is limited to 5 hours, 30 minutes.
The 36th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon has some new surprises this year as well. It will be a "green marathon," as the consumption of eco-friendly products will be particularly encouraged. There will also be refreshments and cool-down stations every 2.5 kilometers after the first 5 kilometers for the athletes. Medical help will not be an issue either, as there will be 30 ambulances available throughout the course and a tent hospital will be located at the finish line. The 36th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon has become one of the top 22 marathons in the world and one of the top 11 marathons in Europe. For the third time this year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put it in the "Gold Label" category.
The marathon sees an increase in participants each year. This year, a total of 25,000 athletes from 118 countries will run on Sunday. Last year, only 98 countries participated. This year's guest of honor is Paul Tergat, a professional long-distance runner from Kenya. Tergat held the world record in the marathon from 2003 to 2007, with a time of 2:04:55, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished long-distance runners of all time. Tergat is also known for being a gentleman within the athletic community. A total of $803,000 will be awarded to marathon winners including $50,000 to first place winners for both woman and men, $25,000 to second place winners and $15,000 to third place winners, while $20,000 is allocated to the first three wheelchair participants that finish. Through the Istanbul Marathon, Vodafone Turkey will also be collecting donations on behalf of the Dream Academy, which is connected with the Vodafone Turkey Foundation to integrate disabled people into society through art and sports.
According to the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon website, "In the beginning, the main intention was simply to organize a marathon event. Being a unique city in terms of history and geography, Istanbul deserved a unique marathon. Despite the financial and logistical problems, an initial project was set up for the Eurasia Marathon. In 1978, officials were informed that a group of German tourists, who ran marathons in countries they visit, would visit Istanbul the next year. It was then we decided to create the Eurasia Marathon project. Having solved problems with the course and traffic, the organizers invited well-known Turkish athletes to the event as well. Finally, all preparations were completed and the marathoners – of whom 34 were from the 74-person tourist group – gathered at the starting point, 700 meters behind the Bosporus Bridge on that historical day. Thus, the Bosporus Bridge witnessed a marathon for the first time in its history, which the runners crossed from Asia to Europe. That was the beginning of an important event. The first Eurasia Marathon was won by Hasan Saylan, a Turkish athlete from the city of Zonguldak, with a time of 2:35:39. One of the most important features of the Eurasia Marathon is that it has aimed for friendship and peace since day one. Well-known athletes such as Ian Thompson and Terry Mitchell participated in the Eurasia Marathon, which also became a testing ground for Turkish athletes, many of whom went on to run in international races."
The 36th Annual Vodafone Marathon is a wonderful place for all athletes, even amateur ones, to have fun, unite with individuals from different cultures and strive to be a winner in their category.
All athletes must take the following precautions:
Runners must be examined before the race
Runners who have respiratory tract problems or heart disease should not participate in the marathon
Runners must participate in the marathon only after having had enough rest
On the morning of the race, eat breakfast early and avoid alcoholic or acidic drinks
Runners should wear socks with sneakers and leave the race if health problems occur
Runners can also ask for medical assistance from health officers at any time during the marathon
Traffic will restart at 2:30 p.m.; at this time, those continuing the run should continue on the sidewalks. Free transportation is provided for the athletes on the day of the race, including transportation from Taksim, the city center and from Sultanahmet.