Istanbul 2020: Unique Eurasia marathon gathered 100,000+ to race between two continents
Sports Features Communications
November 11 - The Istanbul 2020 Olympic bid rallied home support as 100,000-plus participants took part in the intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon. This year’s event gathered over 13,000 athletes and hundreds of young people donned bid t-shirts to show their support and participate in the fun run.
A number of the runners that had registered for the New York Marathon that had to be cancelled were invited to join in for free for solidarity. Overall there were 27% of the entrants that were from abroad.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) also elevated the race to gold label status last year and as the runners cross the iconic Bosphorus Bridge it is the only race to start in one continent and finish in another.
“This event has been celebrating the very best of Istanbul since 1979 and the Turkish people are extremely passionate about it – as you can see from the incredible turnout today,” said the leader of the bid, Hasan Arat. “Sports events in Turkey are always well supported, and that is one of the reasons domestic polls have shown that 87% of people in Istanbul and 83% nationally want to host the Games here. Istanbul 2020 is about to kick off a series of domestic programmes to keep building awareness and enthusiasm for our Olympic bid in Turkey, so I believe those figures will only increase.
“The sports world has seen a marathon bridge two continents today – Istanbul 2020 wants to do that with an entire Olympic and Paralympic Games. Imagine: athletes could sleep in Europe and compete in Asia. That offers the Olympic Movement a brand new, very exciting opportunity.”
Alpaslan Baki Ertekin, General Manager of Spor A.Ş., on behalf of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality said, “We finally made the Istanbul Eurasia Marathon a gold marathon after three years of planning. It is now one of the top 20 marathons in the world. Our next step is for the marathon to become the world’s seventh marathon major by attracting new runners from across the globe.”
The marathon also passed by some of the city’s famous architectural landmarks, including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo to host the summer Games. The final vote will take place on September 7 next year at the Buenos Aires IOC session.
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