Beautiful Course...Poor Course Support (about: 2005)|
Steve Bichler from Adana, Turkey (10/4/05)
4-5 previous marathons
| 1 Istanbul Eurasia Marathon
First, let me just say that Istanbul is an amazing city and this was by far the most scenic course I've ever been on. We ran through both new and old neighborhoods, had a beautiful view from the Bosphorous Bridge, and a fantastic view of the Blue Mosque just before crossing the second bridge. The hills stopped for the most part at 15km and then we had a beautiful run along the coast. The fans that are out and know a race is going on are very supportive, particularly of Turkish runners.
That said, I would not recommend this marathon. The on-course support was poor at best. There was no sports drink provided, and water was available only every 5km. There were sponges available every 2.5km, but that is no substitute for water/sports drink. Particularly, in the final 10-12 km, water should have been available at least every 2.5km. At the final aid station on the course, no one was even there manning it, because it was raining. I had two friends run the 15km race and there was no water available for them at the finish line. When I finished the race at 4 hours, 9 minutes, the clock had stopped working and no one even yelled out a time for me. The race had a 5-hour limit, yet the marathon organizers seemed rushed to take down the course (because a football game was scheduled immediately at the 5-hour point in the same stadium).
The course is beautiful, and running in both Europe and Asia is amazing, but the support is very poor. I would not recommend this to a first-time marathoner because I'm afraid it would turn them off to running marathons altogether. This race is for more experienced runners that are looking for an adventure and not a PR.
One final point: this is not a chip-timed raced, so you need to bring your own watch with you to get an accurate time.