I have not been running lately because of laziness and injuries. But my laziness stops the moment my travel bug comes to the stage. I needed to get away from my everyday life routine even for a short while and joining International Antalya Runatolia Marathon was the perfect cure of all my problems!
I signed up for 10K, flew to Antalya on a Friday evening after work and returned back to İstanbul on Monday morning; so had the chance to enjoy this beautiful city for 2 full days. Antalya is mainly a summer destination and almost always full of tourists. The perk of visiting the city in March was to enjoy it while it was quite and peaceful.
I chose to rent an Airbnb room to be close to the Atatürk Kültür Parkı which is the start point of the race. After settling down, I went to TerraCity Mall to pick up my race kit on Saturday morning. There was a pasta party with a DJ and a band, so quite a start of the day!
I went back to Kaleiçi (Old Town) to freshen up my Antalya knowledge. Kaleiçi was established between the years B. C 159 – 138 and is the first residential part of Antalya. It is best to start your tour by entering the Old Town from Hadrian’s Gate, which is the only remaining gate to the ancient city of Antalya. Once you enter, you can stroll around the narrow streets and enjoy many shops, cafes, bars, restaurants Old Town offers.
You can also visit Fluted Minaret, Clock Tower, Fortified Roman port, Broken Minaret Mosque, Hıdırlık Tower and Atatürk’s Home. Or simply enjoy a drink with a magnificient view.
I also took a short scenic cruise on the Mediterranean from the boats anchored in the harbor. If you are to take one, make sure to haggle, for sure! And do not believe when they tell you boat will leave soon. Boat leaves whenever they are convinced that there will not be anymore visitors. Nevertheless it is a nice way to enjoy the sea and the sunset!
Because of my injured leg, I wanted to keep all my energy for the race and went back home early. By early, I mean around midnight…
Race day started with a fun warm up session. Atatürk Kültür Park was full of runners coming from all around the world. The race started at 9.15 AM with a very slight delay yet it was a total joy.
The reasons why you should join Runatolia:
- The route is totally flat, which is great for those who does not like hilly routes.
- The view is simply amazing. The sea is on the one side with the mountains right behind it (Runatolia is considered to have one of the most scenic marathon routes).
- The event is very well organised.
- You can use this as an opportunity to have a weekend get away or combine it with a spring trip around Antalya.
- Every corner of the town will be full of runner-visitors so it is a great chance to make a global running network!
I finished 10K in 60 minutes net (140th among woman, 823rd in total) which is not a great result. But my only goal was to have fun which is a mission that had been accomplished successfully.
I love cities which are surrounded by mountains. If you are the same, make sure to plan a trip to Antalya and spice it up by joining Runatolia!