Sports tourism gets serious

Sports tourism gets serious

For the first time ever in my life, I participated in the half Ironman race on Sept. 23. 
I had actually done a sprint triathlon in 2013 and was appalled at its difficulty. My cousin Damla, who loves to swim, was the first family member to try such sports. She dragged me to the triathlon and introduced me to the “Yüz Bin Koş” family. My brother, meanwhile, is addicted to anything that has cycling in it.
So I have found myself on the path to becoming a triathlete. If you ask me whether I have yet actually become one, I would say “No.” I’m still trying to advance my cycling race skills; I still tend to see the bicycle as simply a fun and environmentally friendly form of transport. I want my bicycle to have a basket, a soft saddle that does not hurt by behind, and I want to ride it while chatting. But no. The race cycle seat has to hurt your back as you ride 90 km per hour to become an Ironman.  

In the triathlon you cannot wear shoes when running but you have to lock your feet into the bicycle pedals. As if this is not enough, you have to adapt your behind to that rock hard seat. 

In sum, I can say simply that there is still some time before I become a proper triathlete.  

The sports environment is full of stories of patience and determination that I especially love. It strengthens me to be among people who spare so much time and effort to take part in sports, who develop themselves with a constructive attitude, and who inspire others to exercise. 

In total there are 75 athletes from Yüz Bin Koş who will participate in the Gloria IRONMAN 70.3 race next week – both individually and as a team under the name “Kuzenbirlik.” 

The Ironman is a twist on the triathlon. It has three different branches - swimming, cycling and running - incorporated in the same race. The Ironman is based on determination and power. 

Gloria IRONMAN 70.3 Turkey will be held on Oct. 23 in the Belek district of the Mediterranean province of Antalya. 

Around 700 triathletes from 41 countries will compete. Globally, it is estimated that as many as 150,000 athletes take part in Ironman events. Some 23 of these events are held in Europe, 19 are held in Asia and 52 are held in the Americas. Ironman events add value to the host country in terms of sports tourism. 

If you want, you can watch almost the entire Gloria IRONMAN 70.3 race from its official website. Private broadcaster CNN Türk is also showing some of the action, as it did last year. Dream TV and Radyo D are also supporting the event. 

Over 1,000 workers will staff the event, including police officers, gendarmerie, and highway authority staff, as well as 300 volunteers. 

Last year, almost 10,000 visitors - mostly athletes, families and spectators - came to Antalya for the Gloria IRONMAN 70.3. 

“It makes us happy to represent our country in the international arena and to host international participants despite it being the off-season,” the organizers told me. 

The support of the Gloria group, its stance, and the value its attributes to the athletes are so important. As an athlete I especially appreciate this. 

I want to write about and promote, insistently and proudly, all sports organizations across the country, small or large. Because I know how unifying, soothing, healing, and constructive sports can be for a country.
Keep watching this space.