Istanbul Marathon by Viwe

The poster advertising the Istanbul Marathon from Just Run Tours (JRT) caught my attention. It had a long bridge with runners entitled “The Only Intercontinental Marathon.” Immediately, I knew that I wanted to be at the start on November 6, 2022. As I communicated with JRT about accommodation, travel dates and the visa I also checked the Turkish Lira in comparison to the South African Rand. It was such a pleasant surprise when I discovered that the two currencies were almost equal. Then, I was completely sold in anticipation of having a great experience without breaking the bank. As indicated in the poster JRT made all the necessary arrangements and mine was to train for the race, show up at the airport and run on race day.

I appreciated the sense of community created by the organiser prior the travel. The WhatsApp chat group provided very useful travel information and we got to bond with fellow runners. We coordinated flights and I was with those taking a direct flight to Istanbul from OR Tambo in Johannesburg. Meeting at the airport with some members of the group was awesome, it solidified the comradery that had started virtually. Upon landing in Istanbul on Friday morning it was easy to coordinate ground transportation to the hotel. We were warmly welcomed by those who had travelled a day before us.

JRT could not have chosen a better location. The hotel was right along the banks of the Bosphorus on the European side in proximity to great restaurants and tourist attraction sites. We had easy access to the Asian side. JRT had prepared itinerary for the “long weekend.” In addition to the race day on Sunday, we had three full days in Istanbul. Friday afternoon was for race registration and group dinner, Saturday was left to individual plans and a group carbo-loading dinner in the evening. Monday was set aside for shopping and site seeing. Having travelled around the world alone, I cherished the companionship of a group and at the same time the flexibility to explore the place on my own.

On race day we all met for breakfast and caught taxis and some ran to the station to catch a ferry to the start on the Asian side across the river. The mood was very jubilant and festive. As South African runners we sang and celebrated all the way to the start. It was heart-warming to see Turkish runners and those from some parts of the world join us. We could not have asked for better weather, it was a sunny autumn day. The seeding pans were well-organized and clearly marked. The race started on time and the profile was a clearly described in the race write-up. The support along the route was awesome and the waterpoints were at every 5Ks. It also important to note that there was 15K run and, a inline skates run as well that had started before the marathon. All races had the same finish.  From 11kilometres the 30ks was an out and back that turned at 26kilometres. I enjoyed that because I knew what to expect as I kept seeing the runners ahead. It is a pretty flat course that is run mostly along the water with a total accent of only 147 metres. There is a short steep at the 41stkilometre. At the finish, the JRT team was there and we celebrated the finish together. I really had such a wonderful experience on race day.

The Istanbul Marathon is one of many marathons that I have run, however it will stand out as my only intercontinental marathon. In addition to that, it came with a unique cultural experience, and a tour to a different country with fellow runners. I look forward to more JRT experiences, to at least one running tour to each of the continents on earth!

2 thoughts on “Istanbul Marathon by Viwe

  1. Tshepo Shadrack Makwela says:

    Beautiful experience. God willing and finances permitting, i will definately be doing another trip with JRT.

    Sis Viwe is a super great human being

  2. Moks says:

    Wow, Viwe‘s account makes one want to book flights to Istanbul already. Enjoyed reading the piece and also looking forward to hearing of more experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *