Thousands of runners filled the streets for the second edition of the International Mersin Marathon on Sunday 11 December, a race which has been given a five-star certification rating by European Athletics Running for All.
Mersin has a strong tradition of staging continental events including the European Champion Clubs Cup Seniors and the European 10,000m Cup last year - as well as the multi-sport Mediterranean Games in 2013 - but this athletics traditional was taken to a new level with the inauguration of the International Mersin Marathon last year aimed primarily at non-elite runners.
“The promotion of a healthy lifestyle and sports is one of the priorities of the local authorities,” explained Salih Munir Yaras, the Vice President of the Turkish Athletics Federation and European Athletics Council Member.
“The Mersin Metropolitan Municipality places special emphasis on mass participation events, not only to attract youth and future generations to sports, but also to provide the opportunity for the elders to take part in regular and quality sporting events.”
The five-star certification rating is clearly an indictment of the event’s reputation and the participation figures have grown markedly in the last twelve months. Less than 5000 runners took part in the first edition last year but that number ballooned to 20,000 on Sunday across the three events: 5km, 15km and marathon.
“Mr. Burhanettin Kocamaz, Mayor of Mersin, was the founder of the International Tarsus Half Marathon during his office in Tarsus - a district of Mersin - and put forward the idea of organising a full marathon in the city shortly after he was elected for his new position in 2014,” said Yaras.
“The City greatly supports and promotes athletics, investing a large sum of its budget for organising and contributing to athletics events.”
In the elite races, Kenyans Moses Too and Jedidah Wanjiru claimed victories in 2:14:27 and 2:40:54 respectively. Ethiopia’s Dawit Fikadu won the adjoining 15km while Kenya’s Esther Chesang won the women’s race ahead of Ethiopia’s Shewaye Wolde Woldemeskel and Serbian veteran Olivera Jevtic.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
More information on Running for All: