Sexagenarian marathon runner prepares for 300-kilometer race
Turkey’s first female ultramarathon runner, Bakiye Duran, 62, is set to run in the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) that will be held Aug. 23.
Duran will run in the 300-kilometer UTMB, first held in 2003. The race will cover France, Italy and Switzerland and competitors will circle Mont Blanc massif in the Alps.
Born in the Black Sea province of Samsun in 1959, Duran said that the 2021 UTMB will have hard conditions with dangerous places in the mount area but she intends to complete it in good health.
She said that unlike urban races, the ultramarathon is difficult because it has tough weather and terrain such as hiking in the mountains, crossing rivers and rocky places.
Duran said the conditions and being permanently active for almost one week during ultramarathons improve an athlete physically and mentally.
This UTMB will be run in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc from Aug. 23 - 29.
Following the UTBM, Duran said she plans to run in the polar deserts in Sweden and Greenland as well as the Taklamakan Desert and Australian deserts.
A former chemistry teacher, Duran wrote a book about her running adventures and challenges in the Alps, Carpathian Mountains, Abu Dhabi Desert, Italy’s Sardinia, Kalahari Desert and Namib.
Duran said she was passionate about running in the village where she was born and then chose it because it is the base of all the sports disciplines.
She said basketball, tennis and volleyball require teams, teammates or partners but running is done alone and with simple equipment.
“You can put on your sneakers or rubber shoes to run. In fact, you can even do it barefoot on sand. Running can be done with simple outfits. You can run with your sports hijab, pajamas or slippers,” she said.