|Crossing the bridge between Asia and Europe|
ABOUT THE RACE
There are 3 courses (Full marathon, 15km and 10km) plus a fun run (8 km, in Turkish advertised ad “people’s walk). Races start at 9:00, 9:15, 9:30 and 9:45 am respectively. (Half marathon takes place in April and has different course.) Registration fees are lower than for other similar events in Europe.
Shuttle buses are organised only from Taksim and Sultanahmet squares and depart rather early (from 7:00-7:30 am). The queue for these buses is long so get ready for standing in line early in the morning. I wish there were more shuttle bus pick up points in the city. It would be awesome if there would be shuttle buses available also on the Asian side of the city (where actually the starting point is located). You can also reach the starting point by taking a taxi or metro. In this case, you might take a 2 or 3km long walk before the start since many of the nearby streets are closed due to security reasons. Don’t forget that if you want to leave your bag at the luggage buses, you must be at the starting point before 8:30 am. Starting points and luggage bus points are not always very visibly marked, so add some extra minutes when calculating how early you have to wake up. Be careful to leave your bag in the correct luggage bus, because finish points of all the races are different.
WHEN ISTANBULITES MEET THE RUNNERS
As mentioned before, many of Istanbulites are not aware of this event, some even complain that the event causes extra traffic, plus due to the race many buses and trams don’t operate or have a different route. Though there are more and more supporters every year along the course (BIG THANKS TO ALL THE CHEER GROUPS!), there are still many people who don’t care about the runners, try to cross the road while runners pass by (be careful)…. you can also run into (literally) person walking in the opposite direction on the bridge just to take that perfect selfie. This year there was even a family having breakfast on the bridge. The only rule here is: expect the unexpected.
The number of runners on the event hasn’t reached 30.000 yet but running is getting more and more popular in Turkey. I do hope that the organisation will improve and that Istanbulites would finally understand that even if they don’t run, they can enjoy the event and that if once a year they give their roads to runners instead of cars, the World won’t end.
You can read more about running in Istanbul here.