Running a Marathon in Istanbul.

In November of last year my great friend of 40 years, Polly, turned 50 and I felt a visit to her home in Istanbul, Turk20151114_123447_resizedey was only fitting, Imagine my excitement when I realised my trip coincided with the Istanbul marathon, however I was still recovering from the Rotterdam marathon which I ran with two of my fellow Greenwich Runners.

I love Istanbul, an amazing city bursting with energy, vibrancy, fantastic food and a cultural history like no other. Should I run the Istanbul marathon, you bet.

Entry is easy and you could even enter on the day. They also run a 5K and 10K on the same day. On arriving in Istanbul, I made my way to the Expo. Disappointing by London standards, however the volunteers were helpful and friendly and I met a lovely runner from North London, Chris. Oh yes, the welcome pack was not bad; t-shirt and a rucksack. {runners love a goody bag}20151114_140710_resized

The marathon started on the Bosphorus Bridge {the only day in the year when they close the bridge} which meant an early morning water-taxi ride across the Bosphorus. Stunning views as the taxi darted in and around the tankers which majestically glide down the river.

The start was fashionably “Turkish chaotic” which seemed fitting and whilst I waited for the start I met the two lovely fellow runners West London Peggy and Mathan from Iran.

The marathon was everything I expected and more. Although lacki20151113_165637_resizedng in spectators, the route was spectacular and my fellow runners as friendly as only marathon runners can be.

As I high-fived small children I realised this was not a marathon to race but one to savour and enjoy which I certainly did in my slowest time of 4.35. Did I mind, I did not as I made my way to the finish along the Bosphorus, through the Topkapi Palace Gardens, past the Hagia Sophia and finishing outside the Blue Mosque.IMG-20151115-WA0011_resized

I could not have done it without my amazing support team; Polly, Peter, Daisy and Billy. Would I do it again, oh yes!

My thoughts now turn to my 50th and my 10th marathon in London this year.

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