Living in 2 continents while running in 7: Living in Istanbul!
I wasn’t born is Istanbul, but almost every important moment of my life started in Istanbul. I met Istanbul at my high school period because of my father’s work and I still try to understand it. Istanbul welcomes me with renewals every day and each day opens to a new adventure. It is a city which millions of people live and breathe in together and which is engaged with the history. It hold’s ‘the world’s capital’ title and will continue to do so. Let me mention myself a little; I am Alper Dalkilic. I ran an ultramarathon in 7 different continents of the world. I am the one and only Turkish sportsman who assumed the Grand Slam title by running 4 ultra-marathons which were each 250 km. within a year in 4 different continents in 2012. I ran ultra-marathons at Atacama desert in South America; Gobi Desert in Asia; Shara Desert in Africa; White Desert in Antarctica; towards Uluru in Australia; Iceland’s cold geography Europe and at Grand Canyon in North America. While I ran 520 km. in 10 days in Australia, I ran distances that started with at least 250 km. in one week. I kept all of my equipment on my backpack and only the hot water for me cook and a tent for me to shelter were supplied by the organisation. There were all kinds of materials needed for one week of competition inside the back pack, however the main base of the competition was “self-sufficiency”. I continue to run the World after new plans, dreams and projects. Istanbul involves all kinds of adventures just as my back pack does with all kinds of materials at the ultra-marathons. I am wherever I feel like; I am at the Belgrade Forest, Cekmekoy Forest, beach if I want to run; the historical peninsula awaits if I want to live to history; if I will travel across continents, I have my tea and bagel with seagulls at the boat and I find myself in a new continent. I know that my beloved ones will welcome me each time I arrive to Istanbul which is my starting point at each ultra-marathon. It deeply motivates me to be in a city which never sleeps with the magnificent Bosphorus view that make you cling to the plane’s window in daytime and the splendid lights at nights. It is priceless to see and meet the happy faces of your friends again after new successes and adventures…
I had my first marathon run (42, 195 km-forty two thousand one hundred and ninety five meter in writing) in Istanbul. There is no other place in the world where you can run from one continent to the other, and that is what makes it attractive… Running the marathon from Anatolia with your muscle strength, not only your muscle strength but the mental strength also with the ones waiting for you and the ones clapping towards your goal… We are lucky because we have the only marathon in the world. Where in the world can you run from Asia to Europe. For sure we have to work together a lot to take this marathon to a better place just like the running culture in our country. I prefer running from one continent to another with the muscle strength by bicycle every day. I hope it will come true one day. Istanbul should not differ from other cities. The biggest reason foreign tourist are more interested in the Istanbul Marathon executed one a year than the domestic tourists is the intercontinental travel and journey together with the running culture. People that come to run the Marathon find themselves in the capital of the world many times later in the process. Wherever I will travel intercontinentally in Istanbul, the continents I ran come intı my mind. My day passes as if I have gone on a new trip,
selves in the capital of the world many times later in the process. Wherever I will travel intercontinentally in Istanbul, the continents I ran come intı my mind. My day passes as if I have gone on a new trip,
just like the new adventures and people waiting for me in a new continent. Millions of people and tens of-hundreds of cultures are together. Almost everything about Istanbul is a different plot for a documentary. Istanbul with its architectural structures, natural areas (I want them to increase in numbers), museums, and many places to visit always contains surprises. The world is small, however Istanbul is big. When I don’t see familiar faces for a long time, it is easier to run across them abroad.
Living in Istanbul feels like a marathon. Its different transportation alternatives change according to your instant situation. Sometimes I do not want to have the time instantly but calm with the comfort of a voyage. Whenever I am not in Istanbul, the bagel -seagull-boat triplet is among the things I miss during ultra-marathons. When the sportsmen I meet and run with during ultra-marathons find out that I come from Istanbul, their instant reaction is “Amazing!”. The place we live in gets more valuable once we drift away. Whenever I return to Istanbul, that is the time the excitement inside me drags me to new places in Istanbul.
I passed the bridge in Istanbul first by a car, then many times by running and another time by a motorbike. I don’t forger the firsts. I ran for 8 km. and talked all about it afterwards, and after I ran a marathon I did not shut up about it. When I passed the bridge with my motorbike I felt like I was going to fly from there and experienced a different king of excitement. An excitement starts whenever the blogs I write on ultra-marathons, the responses and comments I get includes Istanbul with my beloved ones. It becomes an important motivation to finish it in health and I pay attention to myself more. How can the people, the structure of the houses, trees, cats, dogs of a city in a country and in two continents be so different from each other. All are different under the same roof. A cat’s behaviour I raise at the Anatolian side can be different at the other side and you see that the transitions between districts are very strict. The mystery and attraction of the magical city which is like an organism that lives 24/7 always attracts it residents once that move away. I missed Istanbul the most when I was in Antarctica during my 7 continent 7 ultra-marathon project. There were swimming and walking penguins instead of waves could not take the boats place did not make me forget Istanbul’s boats. The minute I came back to my land and needed to go from a continent to the other, I got over excited. Just like meeting your beloved one… Boats, bagels and tea and the seagulls flapping…
I guess you have to be energetic person all the time to live in this magical city which involves different cultures. Its 24-hour energy takes you to different places, therefore it is a sound decision to be exercised and ready for surprises. It would be a rational decision to take care of your dressing because it spreads to a large area physically, grows constantly and has a different climate. Istanbul would like you whenever it wants just like a car. No matter how close you try to get to it, it takes time to get used to it. Later on, it will not let you go, and you won’t be able to let go either. It says goodbye when you leave for another place, but knows that you won’t be able to stay away for a long time. It will welcome you with a surprise climate again. I heart a lot about Istanbul’s climate the first time I arrived, you cannot be sure what will happen they said. We have to be careful as we connot change Istanbul. The important thing is not to live the best way but to live the most adaptable and balanced way, isn’t it? Istanbul is an exultant mega city with its surrounding islands… I feel like I have gone further away when travelling overseas to Buyukada (The Big Island). The charming side of the island is that it makes you forget about everything very quickly. Then the return journey enters to mind and Istanbul winks by calling “I”m here” with its lights that have a reflection on water at nights to the no-vehicle, peaceful and calm life of the island folks.
The city which I enjoy to live in and sometimes makes me ask “Why am I even here?” many times, but later convinces me as it does to millions of other people, the city which amazes me and grows all the time wait for you for new discoveries and adventures. It is ready, but are you?
by ALPER DALKILIÇ