Runtalya, more than a marathon
ESRA KARAOSMANOĞLU BAYAR ANTALYA – Hürriyet Daily News
Interest in Runtalya is lower than for the Istanbul Marathon. Last year, 3,212 athletes were present in Antalya. The reason for thislow attendance may be the fact that runners are mostly from Istanbul. DHA photoThe first idea that comes to one’s mind when thinking of Antalya, one of the touristic havens of Turkey, would certainly not be a race. However, this is exactly what more than 3,000 runners can only think of these days, eagerly waiting the 9th annual Runtalya Marathon to be held March 2 in Antalya.
After the Istanbul (Eurasia) Marathon organized during the months of either October or November of each year, the Antalya Marathon, ingeniously named Runtalya, is the second biggest city race for runners in Turkey. It is one of the two Turkish marathons according to the standards of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and thus benefits from an international race classification.
Traditionally organized during the first days of March, Runtalya has the advantage of being held in mild temperatures on an asphalted route with small differences in altitude. The almost entirely flat trajectory is certainly all runners’ paradise. The course leads out of the city of Antalya, along the beautiful coast, and up to the new district of Lara Beach. The start and finish areas are spacious, avoiding any crowds at these critical points, unlike the Istanbul Marathon, where runners are packed together at the narrow finish points. Runtalya is a well-organized race, far beyond the Istanbul Marathon. Despite all these advantages, interest in Runtalya is lower than for the Istanbul Marathon. Last year, 3,212 athletes were present in Antalya. The reason for this low attendance may be the fact that runners are mostly from Istanbul. While they vigorously participate in the race organized in the city they live in, they seem – ironically for runners – to abstain from making the effort of travelling to Antalya. The predominant reason could be the additional expenses that every runner coming from another city will incur, such as flight and accommodation expenses. Hopefully, in the close future, there will be more interest in Runtalya from athletes living in Antalya and accommodation advantages will be granted to runners from other cities.
The full marathon, the half marathon and the popular 10K are the classical race distances of this organization. But this is not all you can find in Runtalya!
The Bambini-Run on March 1 could be the ideal open-air entertainment for your little ones. The pleasant 4 km Fun Run is open to all and does not require any registration formality or payment. The main idea being to “have fun,” there is no time-keeping in this race. Last year, almost 2,000 fun-runners participated in the event.
The “High-heels Run” is also held on March 1, and is increasingly popular among – obviously – women. Running heels should be at least 7 cm high and 1.5 cm large. It certainly requires a very particular talent to run the whole race, even if it is only 100 meters. More and more, this entertaining race attracts celebrities. For instance, in the past years, Wilma Elles, the evil character Caroline of the popular TV serial “Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki” (As Time Goes By) finished fifth out of more than 100 high-heeled warriors.
There is an extra dimension added to Runtalya through Charity Runs. The first and biggest charity initiative of Turkey “Adım Adım” (Step by Step), which is formed by thousands of amateur athletes, will also be participating in the race to raise funds to the benefit of NGOs. Funds collected by runners of Adım Adım will be used for a wide range of projects, from the education of children to the purchase of wheelchairs for the handicapped. Any contribution to Adım Adım’s efforts in helping others can make a difference in the lives of less fortunate people.
As mentioned on the official website of Runtalya, “walkers are always welcome.” Runtalya is certainly a good opportunity for discovering, either by running or walking, an exceptionally wonderful and sunny city while it is temporarily closed to traffic. You may still want to register before registrations are closed.
For this, have a look at the Marathon web site. If online registrations are closed, you still have a chance: there is always a last minute registration desk in Antalya one day before the race. It is worth it! No one should miss this unique running or walking experience, combining fun, sport and holiday in the Turkish Riviera, blessed with mild temperatures in the midst of a gray winter.