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Race previews

25 November 2016, 12pm

Preview

Erzurum Half Marathon
Sun 7 May 2017

Erzurum — the greatest city of Eastern Anatolia — it is presumed was founded around 4900BC. The surrounding region was dominated by various tribes and nations such as the Urartu, Kimmers, Scythians, Meds, Persians, Parphts, Romans, Sassanids, Arabs, Seljuks, Byzantines, Mongols and Ilkhanids. The city and the surrounding region was conquered by Ottomans in 1514 who continued their dominance until 1923 when the Republic of Turkey was founded. A Congress was called in Erzurum in 1919, at which the foundations of Turkish national unity and independence were laid.

Being located near the slopes of the Palandöken Mountain the city has become a focus for winter tourism in recent years. The 2017 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival will be organized in Erzurum in February. This follows on from having been the host venue for the 2011 Winter Universiade Games.

The city is home to numerous historically rich works of art and is a cultural centre with major potential for tourism. It lies 1850m above sea level.

The second edition of the Erzurum Half Marathon was held on Sunday 22 May 2016. Assefa Bekele (ETH) won the men’s race in 1:08:53 and Mulu Diro Melka (ETH) won the women’s race in 1:16:49. About 1000 runners from six countries participated.

The third edition on 7 May will be preceded by an Expo held in the city’s largest square. Ottoman military bands, thought to be the oldest marching bands in the world, will perform Ottoman Empire marches during the Expo. Top prizes in race are US$3000 to the winner in the Half Marathon, US$1000 in the 10km and US$100 in the age group categories from 35 until 75+.

Participants should not leave Erzurum without sampling at least some of the other sporting and cultural offerings of the region: skiing at Palandöken; sightseeing via the Kule Café; visiting the double Minaret Madrasah (theology school), the Yakutiye Madrasah, and the Ulu Mosque; rafting if you happen to go to Ispir; vsiting the Tortum Waterfall and Lake if you happen to go to Tortum; and tasting Çag kebap, Su boregi , Ayran çorbası and Kadayıf dolması.

Erzurum Airport is only 10km from the city centre. There are daily flights to Erzurum from both Istanbul and Ankara.

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