One day every year, the city stops. Roads are closed and pedestrians own the streets. This event is the Istanbul Marathon and it occurs the first weekend of November. With perfect weather we joined the festivities for the first time this year. Now, I will stop pretending and let you in on a secret: you do not have to run to be part of this special day. We signed up for the Fun Run and the unique opportunity to walk across the Istanbul bridge, the symbolic union of Asia and Europe.
We danced as we awaited the beginning of he race. We watched as red balloons were released into the sky. We gathered Turkish flags as we crossed the starting line. We walked triumphantly past the Mayor of Istanbul as we began the 8 km walk. Within 15 minutes, we found ourselves walking across the bridge. People stopped and posed for photos and took in the view. The whole city was ours to embrace. It was the perfect day and a wonderful way to introduce Istanbul to my dear friend Jenny.
You can sign-up for the Fun Run in the two weeks prior to the marathon. Booths can be found in the busiest areas around the city. Locations include the Mecidiekoy Metrobus entrance and near the Taksim Square Metro entrance, as well as most shopping malls on the weekend. It is free and registration allows you to receive a t-shirt and a medal for completion of the race;)