Sunday, June 8, 2008


Running up the left bank of the Bosporus, in the direction of the Black Sea, you are on the fringe of Europe. Across the canal is Asia, and the two halves of Istanbul -- European and Asian sides -- are connected with nothing more than two suspension bridges.

As I was getting ready to depart for my week's long run, I though great, I'm in Istanbul, one of my favorite cities. Like New York, Istanbul is a city that never sleeps and is always crowded. There is no way to run the city streets -- which is well worth it -- unless you can get out of bed early, at 5AM so that you can hit the streets by 5.30.

I took off on Saturday morning from hotel Anemon, which is next door to Galata Kulesi. Turning up the street I connected with Istiklal -- during the day and at night this is Istanbul's busiest pedestrian street. When I got to Taksim square, I turned, passing the Galatsaray football stadium. Connecting with Dolmabache (this turns into Besiktas) I continued running north, towards the Black Sea. The run through this area is awesome. You pass the Dolmabache Palace and a collection of pictures of Ataturk. The Domabache Palace itself is an impressive structure with walls stretching for almost a full kilometer.

By now I was enjoying my run. When I crossed under the first suspension bridge the road narrowed and connected with the waterfront. Alone amongst the fishermen and the street dogs, I was probably the only one out there for recreation. The street dogs were a problem earlier in the run -- one kept running circles around me, bumping into my legs, crossing the street when I would. For a while the dog was frustrating me, but eventually, I let it go, and he got tired of running next to me.

By 6.30 I'd been on the road for an hour. I was very thirsty because of the humidity and the hot air, and I needed an energy boost. I drank my water and sipped my energy gel.

Having restocked on electrolytes, my legs started to give more push. I headed towards Bebek and the second suspension bridge, and from there to Tarabya -- a friend of mine lives here. I thought about stopping by to say hi, but it was early and she could still have been sleeping, and anyways, I didn't want to interrupt my effort to reach my 18-mile goal. I passed Tarabya. I was now running on Haydar Aliyev road. I reached Haydar Aliyev park soon after that. This was a good point to make my U-turn and head back towards Galata. Mile 18 came way before I was back at the hotel. I stopped running. My right knee was bothering me and I had no water left. I sat down to watch the fishermen do their thing. My gaze was fixed across the Bosporus on Asia. I was thinking about the European Union and Turkey's bid to join. I thought about borders.

I ran for 2h and 15min, at an average pace of 7.29 minutes per mile.


Anonymous said...

sounds amazing amor....i had a terrible run through run down industry!

Unknown said...

Borut, what are exact days of your marathons ? We are returning to Slo end of Aug and i would have to plan a bit one eventual marathon with you (but not @ 7.30 pm) R, Samo

Unknown said...

stumbled accross this by chance - there really seem to be no borders to your imagination and initiatives! A very nice idea and I'll keep checking how you're doing. Let me know when you plan to hit London street, I might join you and show you some nice running paths in hidden bloomsbury garden-jems...
And then we go for a beer. That in any case, ya?

Borut Grgic said...

Samo, my run is in a tailspin. I'm working with a number of combos to see what can work, but I don't know that I can do the full 5 in 5 in the region. The organizational element is enormous and as running is not my job (at least not yet), I don't have the time to make it all come together. I'm back to the drawing boards, but sit tight, something will come up. Running is very much on track, though. I'm hooked on the high.

Borut Grgic said...

Nika - beers in Brussels. How about that?

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