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Monday, October 18, 2010

The cultural experience that is The Istanbul Marathon

Once a year the Bosphorus bridge is closed to traffic and open to people, so of course we had to enter the Eurasia Marathon - the only one that runs from one continent to another (Asia to Europe). Of course a full marathon is a little beyond our current level of training and fitness, so we entered the 'fun run'. Now we observed plenty of 'fun', but not so much 'run'.

We joined about 100,000 other people in order to experience the rare opportunity of walking across the bridge. Crossing the bridge didn't seem to enter the mind of some, though, as they sat down to eat breakfast, play chess, play cards or do a Turkish dance (I'm not sure how to make the video small enough to link to, so you'll have to imagine that one).

An event like this brings out all types, and there were certainly some types. If you look carefully you'll see the lady is carrying all the essentials for an 8km fun run - water, flags, hat and a bread ring. Now, you may not have realised that bread rings are necessary for an 8km run/walk, but they are. In fact by the time we crossed the bridge we were feeling a little peckish ourselves and a bread ring really did hit the spot.

It was a great opportunity for photos from the bridge, and there were good views of Dolmabahce Palace and the Ortakoy Mosque. Unfortunately the usual Istanbul haze prevented a good view down to Kiz Kulesi or the Sultanahmet area.

At the finish line we surrendered our bibs for a bag with a medal, a t-shirt and a certificate! Now, where can I sit down for a quiet smoke to warm down...

What is it about poking crocodiles that seems so attractive?

Konak, Izmir from the ferry