Kevin - despite my comments overall I was very glad I did Istanbul - maybe we get spoiled doing big city marathons and need something more downscale or different to benchmark and there was still a charm about the event, and I will never say anything other than positive about Istanbul and its people. You will enjoy the experience and the city for absolute sure so I am very glad you are giving it a go. No I won't be doing it this year - injury has spoiled my plans for 2012 but I am on the mend, have enjoyed having to cross train a lot more as I couldn't run and look forward to doing my next marathon in Spring 2013....
I am running the Istanbul marathon in November. I'd love experience, advice, thoughts any of you have who have done it. I'm not fast and not young, so a little concerned about water stops. This will be number 18 for me. Also, do women runners get any hassle? I'd had that in some cities.
I've run a dozen international city marathons on five continents. The Istanbul Marathon which I ran last year(2011) was by far the worst one. Contrary to the web info which said the average temps to be around 17~18 C, it was below 12, perhaps due to rain and wind. I almost froze to death! So, make sure you take warm shirts/jacket. My average time is around 5:00 but due to a knee injury during the race I reached the finish line just under 6:00 (I'm guessing as there was no finish line sign by that time!). To my astonishment, there were nobody there, just some workers dismantling the tents and bleachers. I knew the cut-off was 5:30 but they must have known there were still several struglers on the course as a bus was picking some up after the cut off. I declined the ride and continued as the info said we could do. A fellow Canadian I met there said that the people there aren't interested in marathons and so the organizers had to hire the helpers due to lack of volunteers. I guess those hired helpers just buggered off right at the cutoff time. At ll other marathons I've participated, there were always people waiting for the late finishers, no matter how late, to assist you. I wrote three letters of complaints to the organizers including the mayor of the city which oversees the event, but no response to date.
It's just a propaganda when they say the run encompasses the two continents because only the starting point is on the Eastern end of Bosphorus Bridge, which technically is in Asia. However, you don't actually run there as the course is entirely on the eastern (European) side.
I like the city and would like to return to sight-see, but never to run again there.
If you have a friend there, and as it's a great place to visit, you'll have fun regardless of the marathon. Just be careful.
I'm now pretty sure I will be doing it this November. Reviews are a bit patchy, but it fits with my schedule and I'll try anything once....
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