Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Events: 10k, 15k, 42.2k

Three weeks after I completed the Berlin Marathon we were in Istanbul and the Eurasia Marathon happened to be on (I don’t think Shelley actually believes this was a coincidence). We’d had a relaxing 3 weeks in Berlin, Majorca, Barcelona, London and then in Southern Turkey. I had pulled up really sore in the calves from Berlin but after a week with no running had loosened up and managed a few training runs in the preceding fortnight.

We managed to get a local bus out to the expo and entries were still available so
I thought I would give it a go. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is across 2 continents. The run started in Asia with the finish outside the Blue Mosque in the old city. It is the only day of the year the bridge across the Bosphorus is open for walking so an estimated 150,000 million people do the 5k fun run with many having a picnic on the bridge on the way.

Given I had run a marathon 3 weeks before I decided to relax and enjoy the sights. Conditions were much nicer than in Berlin. I managed to resist the temptation to go hard when the gun went and enjoyed running across the bridge. The 1st 5k was still my fastest at 19:04 with the others being 19:40, 20:02, 20:18, 20:17, 20:09, 20:31 and 20:22. It was amazing how much more enjoyable it was not hitting the wall. I had a chat to quite a few local runners and really did take in the sights, of which there were many including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, as the course went through a lot of the old part of the city and was mostly beside the sea. I did come home reasonably hard and got 18th out of a bit over 1,000 finishers.

The drink stations contained sugar cubes –  I’m not sure they still do that! The course was flat and very well marked.

Istanbul is a very friendly city with delicious fresh food, helpful locals and a lovely outdoor eating culture. Public transport is modern and easy to use. Staying in the old city, we had no problems getting to and from the expo, start and finish.

For non-marathoners, there is a 15km race which also takes in many of the main sights including the famous Bosphorus crossing from Asia to Europe. Shelley completed the 15km race and thoroughly enjoyed it – the locals were friendly and talkative, the drink stations manned by very enthusiastic volunteers, and the goodie bag almost as good as for the marathon including a ridiculously large medal!

Event profile: Jarrod Shaw

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