It’s done, 42kms 0r 26.2 miles of The 40th Istanbul Marathon.
Would I do it again? At the moment, the morning after the event, probably not.
Would I recommend it to others, looking for a challenge? Definitely!
Would I do things differently? Yes, but not a lot. I trained hard over the 4 months leading up to the Istanbul Marathon event, completing 7 half marathons. My longest run, however, was only 26 km. For anyone taking up the marathon challenge, I would recommend completing at least two long runs of at least 30 km.
The whole day summed up living in Turkey for me, the frustrations and the reason why I love it. We left our accommodation at 7.15 am and walked 2kms to catch the Metro (like the London Underground).
Marathon runners went free, though when we got off the Metro, the buses that were meant to take us to the start were not running. The buses could not go because the roads had been blocked off for the race! So we got back on The Metro, got off at the closest stop and walked. Lots of runners had gathered but nobody seemed to know what was going on? In the end we scrambled down an embankment to the duel carriageway and walked 3kms down to the start line. Here is a short video to give some idea:
Some would say, that is a good warm up, those of us less competent runners would say that it was a waste of much needed energy. The stuff we would need to try and complete the race. When we got home I worked out that I had covered at least 50kms that day!
The first 10 km of the race had lots of well-wishers cheering us on which was great and makes you feel really good. After that though we were on a motorway out of the city which only contained a few supporters and was much less inspiring. The final few km were back into the centre of Istanbul and really good.
I ran the first 24km or so, mostly ran the next 10 km, then my body had enough after 34 km, making the final 8 km very tough. My final time was about 5 hours 15 minutes. The marathon clock showed 5 hours 19 minutes but as I didn’t cross the start line at the front I don’t know my exact time.
The last km was through the busiest part of Istanbul, the real tourist area. Barriers and armed policemen lining the route to protect the runners and nobody was allowed to cross. Lucas however strolls up to a policeman and says he wants to join me for the last steps to the finish line. The policeman tells him that no one is allowed to go through but he will look the other way when Lucas climbs the barrier. A really nice gesture. Coming from a country where there are too many rules and jobsworths to one where there are probably not enough rules, I still love living in one with less.
Finally, a really big shout out to everyone who supported me with this event. Everyone who sent money, ‘liked’ my posts and sent messages of good luck. We will post the amount of money raised when we work it out. I’m a very lucky person to know so many lovely people, so thank you.