French runner Abraham Kiprotich won the 35th edition of the Vodafone İstanbul Marathon on Sunday — a race that attracted the participation of tens of thousands of runners, both local and foreign.

Kiprotich ran the 42-kilometers in 2:12:30. Siraj Amda Gena of Ethiopia came in second with a time of 2:13:19 and Deriba Merga Ejigu, also of Ethiopia, came in third with 2:14:43.

In the women’s category, Kenya’s Rebecca Kangogo Chesir won first place with her time of 2:29:07. Turkish athlete Elvan Abeylegesse came in second with 2:29:31, and Sultan Haydar, also of Turkey, came in third with 2:29:44.

İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who kick-started the marathon, said around 30,000 marathon runners were expected to attend this year’s event. However, a much larger number — about 120,000 people — participated in the marathon, according to estimates made after the event.

What was previously known as the Eurasia Marathon for its unique distinction as being the only race to carry participants from Asia to Europe, was this year renamed to strengthen its connection with its host city.

For the first time, the marathon started after the singing of the Turkish national anthem.

The first-place prize for the full marathon was $50,000 each for one man and one woman. A total of $216,000 was awarded to the top five athletes in each category. Other prizes were given to handicapped runners as well as participants in the 10 and 15-kilometer races.

The competition brought in international stars as well as local names. Turkey’s 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse, who is also Turkey’s national champion, competed in the marathon for the first time on Sunday.

In the men’s competition, the event attracted Ethiopia’s former Boston Marathon and 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics winner Deriba Merga, Kiprotich, Morocco’s Abdellah Falil and Ethiopia’s Siraj Gena.

Merga’s personal best of 2:06:38 made him the fastest man on the roster this year.

Falil also ran his personal best in Daegu in 2011, when he recorded 2:08.18.

The women’s category featured the likes of Olena Shurhno plus last year’s champion Koren Jelela Yal and runner-up Amane Gobena, both from Ethiopia. Shurhno’s best is 2:23:32, her home country Ukraine’s national record.

Yal has a personal best of 2:22:43, but won last year’s Eurasia marathon with 2:28:06. Gobena is a former Xiamen International Marathon and Seoul Marathon winner whose best is 2:23:50.

Kenyan runner Agnes Barsosio, who won the 2012 Dusseldorf Marathon and achieved a personal best in Daegu at 2:24:03, also participated in İstanbul, as well as Ethiopian Bizunesh Urgesa, a former IAAF World Youth and Junior Championships medalist who won the İstanbul Marathon in 2009 with a time of 2:32:45. Her personal best is slightly faster at 2:31:09.

First held in 1979, the İstanbul Marathon is classified as an official International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Label Road Race event. In addition to the marathon, the event includes 10 and 15-kilometer courses as well as a fun run.

The marathon started 300 meters from the Bosporus Bridge on the Asian shore. After running through the district of Beşiktaş and along the Bosporus, the race ended at the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square. The 10 and 15-kilometer races both ended at Eminönü on the historic peninsula. The fun run started further inland on the Asian side and finished near Dolmabahçe Palace.

source: todayszaman