By Emre Asikci
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkish runners Sezgin Atac and Fatma Demir clinched the 15th edition of the Istanbul Half Marathon, an annual road running event that hosted 47 elite athletes this year.
Atac finished 21 km (13 miles) run in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 16 seconds in the men's category, while Demir completed the same distance in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 17 seconds in the women's race.
Spain's Adel Mechaal, trailed 0.9 seconds behind Atac, and Benard Cheruiyot Sang from Kenya came third, 35 seconds behind the leader in the men's race.
In the women's category, Kenyan athlete Daisy Jepto Kimeli came second, covering the distance 12 seconds later. She was followed by Turkish runner Esma Aydemir who finished in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 40 seconds.
Atac told Anadolu Agency that Turkish athletes should be valued. "They deserve the best," he said. "If given the opportunity, we will perform even better."
Demir, who got sick at the end of the race, was carried to the ambulance on a stretcher.
- Coronavirus measures
The race was held in accordance with social distancing rules due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While there were a limited number of athletes on a single track, athletes took off their masks at 20, 200 and 1000 meters, and were given new ones in the end.
The runners and employees entered the field with the HES code, a system designed to minimize the virus risk. People who have been exposed to COVID-19 can be prevented from participating in public transportation through a mobile app.
Only Turkish citizens and foreigners who live in Turkey participated in the event.
Those competed in the public run started at five-second intervals.
- Among 8 best in the world
The Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon is among the top eight marathons in the world.
It took place at the historical peninsula in Istanbul. About 2,500 athletes ran 21 km (13 miles) distance on the streets of the Turkish metropolitan.
The start and the finish line is located in Yenikapi Event Area on the city’s European side.
Vodafone was the main sponsor of the race organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Spor Istanbul subsidiary.
The total prize money was 44,000 Turkish liras about ($6,000).