ISTANBUL, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 14th Nov, 2016 ) : It was third time lucky for Kenyan-born Azerbaijani runner Evans Kiplagat who finished first in Sunday's Vodafone Istanbul Marathon's men's race. Crossing the line with a time of two hours, 13 minutes and 28 seconds, Kiplagat finally took first place after finishing second last year and third in 2012. Ethiopian athlete Shura Kitata Tola finished second and Kenyan runner Peter Kiptoo Kiplagat came third.
Kenyan athlete Agnes Jeruto Barsosio won the women's marathon with a time of two hours, 28 minutes and 24 seconds. Ethiopian runner Sechale Adugna Dalasa came second and her compatriot Rahma Tusa Chota finished third. Thousands of people are still taking part in the Istanbul Marathon where this year's theme is: "We are running for the July 15 martyrs." Sunday's marathon hosted 90 elite athletes, including 28 top Turkish runners, as well as thousands of people who just want to challenge themselves by running 42 kilometers (26 miles).
Turkey's sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic, Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas gave the starting signal at 9.00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT). Starting pistols were not used out of respect for the hundreds of martyrs killed in the deadly July coup plot. More than 240 people died and nearly 2,200 others were injured during the events of July 15. The Istanbul marathon also features 15km and 10km events.
A free 8km Heroes Run will see people casually race or just walk along the Bosphorus. A race for wheelchair-bound competitors is also underway. The races started on the Asian side of the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge, formerly known as the Bosphorus Bridge, and will end on the historic European side. Sports Minister Kilic told Anadolu Agency he was walking in the Heroes Run to commemorate the people who were martyred on the bridge during the night of the coup attempt.
"Our people are together. Those who have different opinions and favor different political parties are in unity," Kilic added. The marathon will end in Sultanahmet Square; the 15km and 10km races will finish in the nearby Eminonu district. The Heroes Run will end in front of the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace. This year's elite athletes were mostly from Turkey, Belarus, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Russia and Ukraine.