Frenchman wins Istanbul Marathon, two Turks on podium
The Istanbul Marathon is dubbed the only inter-continental marathon in the world. DHA photoFrance’s Abraham Kiprotich won the men’s competition in the 35th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon, while two Turkish athletes finished in the top three in the women’s race on Nov. 17.
Thousands of racing enthusiasts in the fun run joined pro-athletes who participated in what has been dubbed as “the only intercontinental race in the world.”
Kiprotich, a Kenya-born French athlete, finished the 42-kilometer course in two hours, 12 minutes and 30 seconds to take the winners’ check of $50,000. Ethiopian duo Siraj Gena Amda and Deriba Merga Ejigu followed Kiprotich to win $25,000 and $15,000 prizes respectively. Amda finished with 2:13.19 and Ejigu’s time was 2:14.43.
Turkey’s best performer in the men’s race was Bekir Karayel, who finished sixth with a time of 2:20.27. Fatih Bilgiç came eighth with 2:20.47 and Ercan Muslu was 10th with 2:27.45.
In the women’s race, Rebecca Kangogo Chesire was the winner, ahead of Turkish duo Elvan Abeylegesse and Sultan Haydar.
Chesire finished the course in 2:29.30.
Abeylegesse and Haydar, two Ethiopian-born athletes competing for Turkey, finished in 2:29.30 and 2:29.40 respectively.
Turkey’s Ümmü Kiraz finished sixth with 2:34.32, Nilay Esen ninth with 2:43.42 and Lütfiye Kaya was 10th with 3:02.59
Abeylegesse, a two-time Olympic medalist with runner-up finishes in the 5,000m and 10,000m races in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, said she was happy with her achievement.
“I am very happy. I worked hard and had a good race against very tough opponents and tough weather conditions,” the 31-year-old said. “I had tough opponents but I finished in a good time. It was important to finish under two hours and 30 minutes.”
Abeylegesse said she is going to concentrate on winning a medal in the marathon in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“I am targeting 2016,” she said. “Before that, I will run in top-level marathons. I will prepare for Rio with those races.
“From now on, I need to finish under two hours and 20 minutes.”
The fun run, one of the traditional highlights of marathon day, attracted tens of thousands of sports enthusiasts, who did not let go of a chance to cross the continents on foot.
The participants were urged not to run while on the bridge with concerns that they could create a “resonance” that could be dangerous for the Bosphorus Bridge. The race authorities allowed people in certain number of groups on the bridge, but still, the bridge was shaken at times, according to CNN Türk.