Moroccan athlete Hafid Chani won the 36th edition of the Vodafone İstanbul Marathon on Sunday -- a race that attracted the participation of tens of thousands of runners, both local and foreign.
Chani ran 42 kilometers in 2.11.53, while Ethiopian runner Gebo Burka came second with 2.12.23, and Kenyan Michael Kiprop came third with 2.12.39.
In the women's category, Ethiopian athlete Amane Goebna came first with 2.30.38, while another Ethiopian runner Salomie Getnet came second with 2.28.47, and Ukrainian Olena Burkovska came in with with 2.31.32.
Speaking after the finish, Chani said he was very happy to have won the race, while second-placed runner Burka said that towards the end of the race he had experienced trouble due to an injury to his leg.
What had previously been known as the Eurasia Marathon is a unique event, as it is the only race to bring participants from Asia to Europe.
İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Youth and Sport Minister Akif Çağtay Kılıç, Sport General Director Mehmet Baykan, İstanbul Deputy Mayor Göksel Gümüşdağ, İstanbul Sport Activities and Management Corporation General Director İsmail Özbayraktar and several others attended the kick-off ceremony of the marathon. Topbaş, who fired the starting pistol for the marathon, said: “Today people will run for the love of İstanbul. İstanbul is a beautiful city between two continents. We will enjoy this beauty today.” The race started after the singing of the Turkish national anthem.
“We worked, both in the country and abroad, all year to increase participation in the 36th İstanbul Marathon. We've reached our highest turnout of the past three years, registering more than 21,000 runners,” Ender Buruk, assistant to the Vodafone Turkey executive committee chairman, told Today's Zaman. He noted that the numbers have been increasing every year, this time with a solid increase over the 20,000 competitors from 100 countries in 2013.
The first-place prize for the full marathon was $50,000 each for one man and one woman, while those who finished runner-up and second runner-up were awarded $25,000 and $15,000.
Besides the marathon, a public Fun Run has been signed up to by thousands, as it is a unique opportunity to cross the Bosporus Strait and travel the city with people of all ages and walks of life. Many participants stopped to take in the scenery along the way, not willing to miss out on the unique photo opportunities that awaited them on the huge steel suspension bridge.