The world’s only intercontinental marathon has kicked off on Sunday in Istanbul with attendance of thousands of people including a record number of runners.
A total of 63 elite athletes are joining the Vodafone 41st Istanbul Marathon, which started at 0900 am local time [0600GMT] from Istanbul’s Asian side and will end in the European part of the city.
Sponsored by world-famous British telecommunication conglomerate Vodafone, the sports event has four categories — 42.2-kilometer (26.2 miles) marathon, 15-km run (9.3 mi), 8-km (4.9 mi) FunRun as well as a wheelchair competition.
The runners from 106 countries are competing in Sunday’s race as thousands of people are attending the 8-km FunRun.
The finish line is located in the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city’s European side. The motto of the 2019 marathon is “Istanbul is yours. Don’t stop, run!”
Runners are excited to be part of the race.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency before the run one of the athletes Wanna Ieung, 53, said, “I am very excited because I will run to the European side from the Asian side. It’s a great experience.”
Another athlete attending from Italy and competing in the Istanbul marathon for the third time, Claidio Mizii, 64, said, “It is a good competition in Turkey. The last race that I joined was in Chicago. It was cold there. Here the atmosphere is quite warm.”
The winners of the 2019 marathon in men’s and women’s categories will earn $50,000 each. In the Turkish athletes category, winners in both genders will bag 50,000 Turkish liras ($8,760) each.
The Istanbul marathon has been in the Gold Label Road Races list of the international governing body for athletics, the IAAF since 2012.
The champions in recent years such as Elias Kemboi Chelimo from Kenya (2015), Evans Kiplagat from Azerbaijan (2016), French athlete Abraham Kiprotich (2017) and Kenya’s Felix Kimutai (2018) are running to win the 2019 title.
In women’s category, Ethiopian Fatuma Sado, who came third in 2018 and locally famous Turkish athlete Elvan Abeylegesse, who ranked fifth in 2018, are the favorites for Sunday’s marathon.
In addition, the roller skate running will make debut in Sunday’s Istanbul marathon. It will be tested as part of the competition as 300 people will join the international race.
Detailed information about the sports event can be viewed on https://en.maraton.istanbul/
*Sibel Morrow in Ankara contributed to the story.
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