Istanbul Marathon

History

The idea of running from Asia to Europe, which as proposed in Tercuman Newspaper in 1973 was realized with the attempt of a German tourist group in 1979. Those who saw the first marathon on April 1 thought that this was a good ‘joke’. Istanbul Marathon, which has been improved over the years, has been put on the top through the organizations of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The name of the marathon which was Asia-Europe Race was changed as Eurasia Marathon in the following years. In 2013, the name of Eurasia Marathon has been changed as Istanbul Marathon to promote the city and to feature the name of the city, as it is for all the marathons over the world. An exciting countdown was started for the Istanbul Marathon. The birth, development, and current status of this huge organization required a very though process. Over-one-hundred-thousand sports fans unite two continents with friendship and chivalry and this made Istanbul Marathon the most attracting marathon in the world. The marathon preserved its popularity by overcoming all the challenges encountered until this age. And finally, Istanbul Marathon has gained a feast nature for Turkish sport and the people in Istanbul over the years.

The idea of running a marathon on Istanbul Bosphorus Bridge was proposed on Tercuman Newspaper in 1973. This recommendation which was liked by the public at the beginning was not put into practice until 1979. After a group of German amateur athletics fans who visited Istanbul that year raised this idea, Istanbul Governorship, Athletics Federation, and General Directorate of Highways started a process. During the preparation stage, it was decided that such an event could be organized. With its name at that time, “Asia-Europe Race” which was started with big difficulties was held with the efforts of a handful of people and people who set their hearts on athletics. The people of Istanbul thought that it was an April 1st joke when they saw that some people were running on the Bosphorus Bridge half of which was closed and which was newly taken into service.

The first marathon was held thanks to the efforts of Selahattin Yıldız, Ali Ergenç who was a former athlete and the Chairman of Athletics Federation, Ziya İğdebeli and Osman Kazancıoğlu, all of whom are members of the organization committee. 60 volunteers from Germany helped the organization team which encountered a low budget and big difficulties. Financial difficulties were overcome with the support of institutions such as Simtel and Hisarbank. The other problem was the concern of the General Directorate of Highways that if thousands of people run on the Bosphorus Bridge it might endanger the safety. After all, the plans were completed and all the measures were taken, Asia-Europe Run was started with the title of “the only intercontinental marathon” on April 1, 1979. Also three stages of 10, 20, and 42 kilometers, a walking stage of 15 kilometers was added. While choosing the orange-navy blue colors which are the symbol of the race and also adopted by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the designers were inspired by the uniforms of the guest German team of 60 people. After the first race which attracted much attention, General Directorate Youth and Sports, Physical Training, and Athletics Federation continued their efforts to make the race traditional. However, the marathon process which required a busy pace might cause some financial and social difficulties.

Due to increasing problems, Selahattin Yıldız who named the Asia-Europe Run and Ali Ergenç who was the Chairman of the Athletics Federation at that time decided to grant the organization to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to enable the run to reach its purpose. Asia-Europe Run which was owned by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality after many critics and long discussions had a new identity after 1982. The race which was renamed as “Intercontinental Eurasia Marathon” got various features and started to attract attention to a wide area. In the following years, it turned out to be a huge organization. In the period of the Metropolitan Municipality, national and international runners participated in the Eurasia Marathon, and categories and awards were increased. The marathon started to receive greeting and support from institutions which manage the athletics all over the world such as IAAF, AIMS. In these years, start athletes known worldwide were invited to the marathon for the first time in line to strengthen the sportive aspect of the marathon. In addition, a wide promotion and information campaign was maintained to increase the participation of the public and the “Marathon” obtained its goal. Experiences gained from the other international events held in Istanbul reflected on this important race between the two continents.

In 1999, it was discussed if the marathon would be held or not due to the 17 August Earthquake which gave Turkey a deep shock. In addition to the sorrow of the society, if thousands of people run on the Bosphorus Bridge which was on the route, it would cause a risk. However, the coordination council under the presidency of Istanbul Governorship decided that if the organization was held, it would help Turkey to overcome the difficult period. The number of participants was limited with 75 thousand people against the risk on the bridge. The income obtained from the 1999 Eurasia Marathon with 75 thousand people granted to the earthquake victims. This decision was taken as an example by other countries as the sports feats revealed the cooperation in society. Many families affected by the earthquake had the opportunity to overcome their problems thanks to these aids.

In the period of the Metropolitan Municipality, national and international runners participated in the Eurasia Marathon, and categories and awards were increased. The marathon started to receive greeting and support from institutions which manage the athletics all over the world such as IAAF, AIMS. In these years, start athletes known worldwide were invited to the marathon for the first time in line to strengthen the sportive aspect of the marathon. In addition, a wide promotion and information campaign was maintained to increase the participation of the public and the “Marathon” obtained its goal. Experiences gained from the other international events held in Istanbul reflected on this important race between the two continents.

2000 Eurasia Marathon has an important place in the history of the huge organization. The race was rebroadcasted live on local television channels such as TRT, NTV, CNN Türk, and Eurosport which is watched worldwide. So that both the succession of Turkish athletics in this area and the historical and natural beauties of Istanbul were transmitted visually to many countries. It was attractive that many local and international journalists in a total of 150 followed the race with media organizations such as Reuters, Washington Post, AP. Another feature of 2000 is the candidacy process of Istanbul for the 2008 Olympics. The marathon was of great importance in terms of strengthening this candidacy and for the Metropolitan Municipality to show that it could successfully hold these huge organizations. Every detail was considered and elite athletes who were known worldwide mostly were invited for sportive success and attraction. Despite the limitation with 75 thousand people, the number was close to 100 thousand due to access interest, and this was an explicit indication of the support of the citizens to the Metropolitan Municipality. In the period of the Metropolitan Municipality, national and international runners participated in the Eurasia Marathon, and categories and awards were increased. The marathon started to receive greeting and support from institutions which manage the athletics all over the world such as IAAF, AIMS. In these years, start athletes known worldwide were invited to the marathon for the first time in line to strengthen the sportive aspect of the marathon. In addition, a wide promotion and information campaign was maintained to increase the participation of the public and the “Marathon” obtained its goal. Experiences gained from the other international events held in Istanbul reflected on this important race between the two continents.

The race which was organized by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality was organized with the cooperation of the General Directorate Youth and Sports and Athletics federation in 2001 for the first and only time in its history.

In 2002, the organization was granted to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality again by considering the low number of participants.

Intercontinental Eurasia Marathon witnessed a very meaningful atmosphere in 2003. While the Turkish Republic was celebrating its 80th anniversary, Eurasia was turning 25. As these two dates coincided with each other, the organization was celebrated with great enthusiasm. In the shows held in Inonu Stadium, the fact of Republic was emphasized. The movements demonstrated by the parachutists of Turkkusu were given a round of applause for a long time.

Eurasia Marathon was held with great enthusiasm and participation in 2004. With the wide promotion campaign carried out throughout Istanbul, the route had more colorful images than ever.

Eurasia Marathon was dedicated to a “peaceful world”. Children from different countries let the birds fly over the Bosphorus Bridge. In addition, international communication centers were opened.

The marathon picked up steam thanks to the award amounts increased in 2006 and electronic timing chip which instantly measures the rankings of the athletes. As of that year, Eurasia Marathon became an organization which has a reputable place in the international calendar and attended by elite athletes many sports fan over one hundred thousand.

The last finish of Eurasia Marathon which was run with the motto of a healthy environment, healthy generations and aimed to develop the awareness of the sport of the people in Istanbul was done in Inonu Stadium.

By completing the required criteria in 2008, Eurasia Marathon became one of the 21 marathons in the world having Silver Label mark and rise to “Silver Category”. The finish line was carried from Besiktas to Sultanahmet to remove the elevation difference and to provide a historical meaning to the track. In addition, the Eurasia Marathon Fair was begun to be held as of that year. Ethiopian record-holder athlete Haile Gebrselassie attended to the Marathon Fair. With Adım Adım Initiative, the “Social Responsibility Partner” practice was started.

As of 2009, Registration was started to be made online for Eurasia Marathon and the registration record was broken in the first year. 7.630 people from 71 countries on continents made registration for chip runs. 8 km Public Run was started to be held with “Chips” to be able to measure the rankings of the participants.

In 2010, an information system with automatic mail and a mobile phone was started. Necessary attempts were carried out to rise to Golden Category in 2010. Healthy life stations were established for the first time. International Relations were improved. Observers and represents were sent to particularly Prague and Rome, and London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Boston, and Rotterdam Marathons. Also, after long years, sponsorship activities were started and official and supply sponsorships support were applied with the main sponsorship of Aksam Newspaper. As a result of the intense working, 8.380 people from 85 countries on 5 continents made registration and participation record of the Marathon was broken one more time. Also, in 2010, 200 thousand people participated in Public Run which was attended by ten thousand people every year.

The procedures were started for “Golden Category”. Upon completing all the criteria determined by IAAF, 2012 Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon was admitted to Golden Category, and obtained the title of one of the best 17 Marathons in the world and 7 Marathons in Europe. In 2011, Marathon Fair was carried from Feshane Fair and Congress Center to Istanbul Congress Center, and the biggest sports fair of Turkey was held, and Marathon Fair was reached to the same level of world marathon fairs.

The name of Public Run with Chip was changed as 8 Km Run. Also, tart – finish lines and start time of 8 Km run was changed. The name of the Public Run was changed as Public Jogging and the run and jogging categories were clearly separated. T-shirts – medal of Public Jogging were distributed in Spor A.Ş. facilities. The website of the Eurasia Marathon was renewed.

After Vodafone undertook name sponsorship, the name of the race became Istanbul Eurasia Marathon. Vodafone Istanbul Eurasia Marathon which was admitted to Golden Category by IAAF was organized in Golden Category for the first time. While the 8 Km run start line was taken forward, the finish line was carried from Fındıklı to Tophane. Vodafone Istanbul Eurasia Marathon website application was developed for the iPhone and Android operating systems. Charity Run Registrations were made for +2000 people in Marathon Fair against a donation to Nongovernmental Organizations under Adım Adım Initiative which is Social Responsibility Partner. “Km” mark was applied to each km after 5th km. Electronic stopwatches were placed every 5 km. As a result of all of these procedures, the participation record of all times was broken with 13,006 participants from 88 countries on 6 continents.

 

The name of Public Run with Chip was changed as 8 Km Run. Also, tart – finish lines and start time of 8 Km run was changed. The name of the Public Run was changed as Public Jogging and the run and jogging categories were clearly separated. T-shirts – medal of Public Jogging were distributed in Spor A.Ş. facilities. The website of the Eurasia Marathon was renewed.

The name of the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon was changed as Vodafone Istanbul Marathon to promote the city and to feature the name of the city, as it is for all the marathons over the world. Vodafone Istanbul Marathon was admitted to Golden Category by IAAF for the 2nd time and became one of the best 24 marathons in the world and 11 in Europe. 8 Km run was changed as 10 Km. The finish line of the 10 Km run was carried from Tophane to the front of Istanbul Trade University (Eminonu). The finish line of the 15 Km run was carried from Sultanahmet to the street in the opposition of Istanbul Trade University. Official Social Responsibility Partner of Vodafone Istanbul Marathon became Damlaya Damlaya with 11 CSOs under it. Marathon Fair was carried from the Istanbul Congress Center to Sinan Erdem Dome. Country and participant record was broken also in 5th year with 19,257 registered participants from 97 countries on 6 continents.

The name of Public Run with Chip was changed as 8 Km Run. Also, tart – finish lines and start time of 8 Km run was changed. The name of the Public Run was changed as Public Jogging and the run and jogging categories were clearly separated. T-shirts – medal of Public Jogging were distributed in Spor A.Ş. facilities. The website of the Eurasia Marathon was renewed.

Vodafone Istanbul Marathon was admitted to Golden Category by IAAF for the 3rd time and became one of the best 22 marathons in the world and 11 in Europe. Within the scope of the Volunteering project held for the first time, 2,500 volunteers participated in the training and took part in every stage from the start line to the finish line. Works were started for Green Marathon candidacy. Country and registered participant record was broken also in 6th year with 25,000 participants from 119 countries 6 continents.

The name of Public Run with Chip was changed as 8 Km Run. Also, tart – finish lines and start time of 8 Km run was changed. The name of the Public Run was changed as Public Jogging and the run and jogging categories were clearly separated. T-shirts – medal of Public Jogging were distributed in Spor A.Ş. facilities. The website of the Eurasia Marathon was renewed.

Vodafone Istanbul Marathon was granted with the title of Golden Marathon until 2017 as it was admitted to Golden Category by IAAF for the third time. It is deemed worthy of the title of Green Marathon by AIMS. Istanbul Marathon Memorial Forest was built. Chip team was set up under Spor A.Ş. Which was the organizer of the ace for the first time and the marathon was measured by Spor A.Ş. Timing Team. The Marathon Fair was carried from Sinan Erdem Dome to Aslı Çakır Alptekin Athletics Arena. Registered runner record was broken one more time and 27,000 participants were registered for the race.

The name of Public Run with Chip was changed as 8 Km Run. Also, tart – finish lines and start time of 8 Km run was changed. The name of the Public Run was changed as Public Jogging and the run and jogging categories were clearly separated. T-shirts – medal of Public Jogging were distributed in Spor A.Ş. facilities. The website of the Eurasia Marathon was renewed.

The name of Public Run was changed as Heroes Run and the race was held with the motto of “We Run for 15 July Martyrs”. The Marathon Fair was held in Sinan Erdem Dome and Aslı Çakır Alptekin Athletics Arena. Pacer Athletes carried the runners to their best ranks in 42K, 15K, and 10K categories. Ware Tent practice was carried out in the 42K finish line.

Marathon Fair was held in Eurasia Show and Art Center. Pacer Athletes carried the runners to their best ranks in 42K, 15K, and 10K categories. In men, French Athlete Abraham Kiprotich with 2:11:20 and in women Kenyan athlete Ruth Chepngetich with 2:22:34 achieved the awards.

In Istanbul Marathon organized in 42K, 15K, and 10K categories, records were broken both in men and women. Kenyan athlete Felix Kimutai broke the track record with 2:09:57, and Ruth Chepngetich who was the winner in 2017 obtained the 17th best ranking in the world at 2:18:35 and achieved a great success.

Istanbul Marathon which was run in 3 categories with a chip as 42K, 15K, and 10K for years was held with two categories in 2019 upon the cancellation of 10K run. In total, 36,078 people participated in these two categories and the Istanbul Marathon was held with the highest participation up to now.

After new title sponsorship agreement, Istanbul Marathon, in its 42nd year, will be run with the title N Kolay 42nd Istanbul Marathon.