Thousands run in 38th Istanbul Marathon
ISTANBULThousands of people ran in the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon from the Asian continent to the European, commemorating people killed by putschist soldiers during the failed July 15 coup attempt.
The marathon hosted 90 elite athletes, including 28 top Turkish runners, as well as thousands of people who just want to challenge themselves by running 42 kilometers (26 miles).
Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbaş gave the starting signal at 9 a.m. local time. Starting pistols were not used out of respect for the people killed in the deadly July coup plot.
A total of 256 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others were injured during the events of July 15.
The Istanbul Marathon featured 15km and 10km events. A free 8km Heroes Run saw people casually race or just walk along the Bosphorus. A race for wheelchair-bound competitors was also organized.
The races started on the Asian side of the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, formerly known as the Bosphorus Bridge, and ended on the historic European side. The marathon ended in Sultanahmet Square; the 15km and 10km races finished in the nearby Eminönü neighborhood. The Heroes Run ended in front of the Ottoman-era Dolmabahçe Palace.
Plenty of people were seen having breakfast while viewing the Bosphorus view on the bridge. Taking selfies was also a common activity, as well as celebrating birthdays on this annual event.
Interesting scenes were also seen during the run, with several people playing backgammon and arriving to the marathon with their brides dresses.
Emel Korkmaz, the mother of Ali İsmail Korkmaz also ran as part of a special event called “Give power to dreams.”
This year’s elite athletes were mostly from Turkey, Belarus, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Russia and Ukraine. It was the third time lucky for Kenyan-born Azerbaijani runner Evans Kiplagat who finished first in the men’s race.
Crossing the line with a time of two hours, 13 minutes and 28 seconds, Kiplagat finally took first place after finishing second last year and third in 2012.
Ethiopian athlete Shura Kitata Tola finished second and Kenyan runner Peter Kiptoo Kiplagat came third.
Kenyan athlete Agnes Jeruto Barsosio won the women’s marathon in a time of two hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds. Ethiopian runner Sechale Adugna Dalasa came second and her compatriot Rahma Tusa Chota finished third.
Meanwhile, Kılıç told Anadolu Agency he was walking in the Heroes Run to commemorate the people died during the failed coup bid.
“Our people are together. Those who have different opinions and favor different political parties are in unity,” Kılıç added.
Relatives of the people killed met during the Heroes Run and crossed the bridge with a massive Turkish flag. The group also shouted slogans against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
A large number of NGOs, businesses and associations participated in the event, with nearly all of them carrying banners with slogans on them. Street vendors were also seen selling food, drinks and mostly selfie sticks.
Meanwhile, police took strict security measures on the route of the marathon.