A record number of runners participated in the 40th Istanbul Marathon, the world’s only cross-continental race, held on Nov. 11.
The Vodafone Istanbul Marathon started on the Asian side of Istanbul’s July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, formerly known as the Bosphorus Bridge.
The finish line is located in the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city’s European side.
This year’s theme was “Run Istanbul for a healthy future.”
The event featured a 42-kilometer marathon, and three other races on courses of 15 km, 10 km, and 8 km.
It also included a race for wheelchair users.
About 5,000 runners — more than half of them foreigners — have competed in the 42-km marathon.
The top five countries to have sent runners are Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Britain, and France.
Fifty-five elite runners from Turkey, Kenya, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, France, Bahrain and Morocco participated in the marathon.
Compared to recent years, the number of foreign runners in the marathon doubled.
The Istanbul Marathon is among 17 marathons in Europe and 38 marathons in the world.
Kenyans dominate race
Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich won the 40th intercontinental Istanbul Marathon women’s title and Kenyan Felix Kimutai won the men’s race by breaking the 42-km Istanbul Marathon’s records on Sunday.
Last year’s winner Chepngetich finished 42-km run in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds while Kimutai finished the same distance in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 57 seconds.
Both Kenyans broke the 42-km Istanbul Marathon’s records in men’s and women’s races.
Around 30,000 professional runners, from more than 100 countries, took part in the marathon.
In addition to that, about 100,000 people run in the 8-kilometer transcontinental Istanbul Marathon Fun Run.
A number of people took part in the marathon also for crowdfunding, including Hürriyet Daily News’ Op-ed Editor Barçın Yinanç and Layout Editor Rıza Bülbül.
“Istanbul became a brand for a marathon like New York, Boston and Tokyo,” Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu said about the race.
“By connecting the continents, we will prove the unifying power of sports,” Kasapoglu said.
The idea of the Istanbul Marathon started in 1978 when Turkish officials were informed that a group of German tourists who run marathons in the countries they visited would visit Istanbul the following year. It was then decided to realize the Eurasia Marathon project with its name at the time.