ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Thousands of people participated in the 39th Istanbul Marathon, the world’s only cross-continental race held for the future of the children this year.
Kenyan athletes dominated the marathon on Nov. 12, in which tens of thousands of people from around the world ran from Asia to Europe.
In the women’s category, Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich ranked first, while French athlete of Kenyan origin Abraham Kiprotich was the best male runner.
Chepngetich covered the 46 km run in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds. Kiprotich covered the same distance in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 22 seconds.
Kenyan Visiline Jepkesho came second in the women’s category, covering the distance four seconds later. She was followed by Ethiopian Letebrhan Haylay who finished in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 14 seconds.
In the men’s category, Kenyan Jacob Kendagor was the first runner-up, completing the run in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 27 seconds, while Ethiopian Bazu Worku, finished third in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 39 seconds.
The world’s only transcontinental marathon hosted 86 elite athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, France, Serbia, Lithuania and Turkey.
The race had four other categories aside from the marathon, including the 15 km (9.3-mile), 10 km (6.2-mile) and 8 km (4.97-mile) events, plus a race for wheelchair-bound participants.
The starting point of the marathon was the Asian side of Istanbul’s July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, formerly known as the Bosphorus Bridge. It ended at the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city’s European side.
Roads connecting to the ferry terminals in both Sirkeci and Yenikapı were closed.
Vodafone became the main sponsor of the event in 2012, and the name of the event was changed to the Istanbul Marathon in 2013.
As part of the marathon, a number of NGOs have accepted donations from individuals or private sector teams willing to both participate in the event and contribute to the works carried out by these organizations.
One of the organizations, Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), has announced that they will be on the track for migrant women and children.
The country hosts around 3.2 million Syrian migrants, in addition to migrants from other Asian and African countries in large numbers, according to official figures.
The official theme of the event this year is “We are running for the future of our children.”
Istanbul Mayor Mevlüt Uysal, who replaced Kadir Topbaş on Sept. 29, expressed confidence in the organization, saying that it will compete with the New York Marathon in the future.
The marathon, which began with a mere 34 runners in 1978, will see the attendance of more than 100,000, according to the mayor.
Istanbul’s sports director İsmail Özbayraktar also said this year, late registration has been offered until the last day in exchange for donations of 40 Turkish Liras (roughly $10.5) to any non-governmental organization that participates in the event.
The idea of the Istanbul Marathon started in 1978 when Turkish officials were informed that a group of German tourists who run marathons in the countries they visited would visit Istanbul the following year. It was then decided to realize the Eurasia Marathon project with its name at the time.
The total prize money for the race was $1 million.