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1001 Faces of Istanbul

... one of those places difficult to define. Some would call it 'capital of the World' or 'capital of the Empire', others 'cradle of cultures' and others 'the worst place to live'; ' hell on earth'.

I've spent more than 1001 days in this city and I still find it difficult to reply to a simple question: 'What is Istanbul like?' Maybe it's because I have been here too long and I've come to realise that there is no simple answer to this question. Istanbul has many faces, many nuances if you will. It is difficult to explain them to a total stranger or a person who has never visited the city. Even though you have visited the city once, you have probably lifted only one veil from its face. If you were born here, this doesn't make you an Istanbul expert neither.

You have to get to know Istanbul slowly, day by day, page by page, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. This is actually very difficult because neighbourhoods are…

Run, Istanbul, run!

NRC event in August
I am one of those people who never liked running. When I was in primary and high school I even hated it. I hated even the thought of it.  But this mysteriously (yes, I really don't know the reason) changed after I came to Istanbul. I guess I was searching for a new and not very expensive sports activity in the city....and why not running. I mean Istanbul is a perfect city for running...all the traffic and hills and crowds, one could not think of a more appropriate sport to practice in Istanbul. I guess the real turning point for me as participating in the so-called Fun Walk, which is 8 km long walk, the easiest category in the scope of the Istanbul Marathon. When I've crossed the Bosphorus bridge (which is now called the Bridge of the Victims of July the 15th) and when I saw all the runners running, I decided that I really wanted to be the part of it in the following year. 

This was my motivation to start running. It was really difficult at the beginning, but now I've already finished two Istanbul Marathons (10k only!) and I really started to love this sport. I know that sometimes it's very difficult to get out there and start running, but hey, there are actually many running groups out there in Istanbul and here is just the short list of them. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to join all of them yet, but this is my goal until the next year. I hope I can do it.

(By the way, if you are reading this now and you've just realised that you want to participate in Istanbul Marathon, which will take place on the November 13th, you can register until October 15th)

  •  Nike Running Club Istanbul (NRC+)
Personally, one of my favourite clubs. Right now, they are having a series of trainings to prepare runners for the Istanbul Marathon. Their trainings last two hours. They also organize special events for everyone who wants to start running. Many runners tend to join their trainings (between 180 - 300 or more). Events are free of charge, but you have to register yourself here.
  •  Istanbul Koşu Kuvvetleri (IKK)
So called ''Running Forces of Istanbul'' is quite known running group in Istanbul. I firstly saw, or better heard them, when they were supporting runners at one running event. They run all around Istanbul (Princes Islands included :) and you can join them. They publish their weekly running schedule on the Facebook page and Instagram. The even have their own web page.

  • Rebel Runners (RR)
This group is a bit younger than IKK (which was established in 2012). It recently celebrated 2 years. They are running on the streets of Istanbul on Tuesdays. For place and time, check their Facebook or Instagram page.

  • Happy Friday Runners (HFR)

I guess they love Fridays even more than everyone else. Obviously, this group meets every Friday. Their ''home'' is the Outrunner shop in Beşiktaş, but they also run elsewhere. You can follow their events here.

Besides groups above, which are quite opened and you can join them any time, there are also more ''closed'' running groups (or at least is seems like that - correct me, if I am wrong), like Bu Kızlar Nereye Koşuyor (Where are this girls running to?) and some university running clubs - Like Istanbul Bilgi University.
  • Adım Adım (Charity Run)
This group runs for a good cause! They are having weekly events (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) in Istanbul and also other cities in Turkey (Bursa & Antalya).  This is probably one of the biggest running groups or even organisations (it has more than 14.000 memebers). If you decide to join them, you can choose your own (chartiy) project and with running, not only improve your health, but also help others. You can get all the information about this group and their projects here.
Happy running!


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