•The world’s only intercontinental marathon, in addition to being in the World Athletics' Gold category, the event was run without spectators this year to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
•There was also a pandemic-limited number of participants, as only 4,000 people ran the race compared with around 37,000 last year.
Kenyans Benard Cheruiyot and Diana Chemtai clinched the Istanbul Marathon titles after dominant displays on Sunday.
Cheruiyot clocked 2:11:49 to set a new personal best. He was followed by compatriot Felix Kimutai at 2:12:00 while Ethiopia's Zewudu Hailu Bekele took third place in 2:12:23.
Chemtai won the women's title by completing the race in 2:22:06. Ethiopia's Hiwot Gebrekidan and Tigist Memuye secured the second and third spots with times of 2:24:30 and 2:37:52 respectively.
In a separate event for local athletes, Yavuz Ağralı won the marathon's Turkish championship by completing the course at 2:19:23. In the women’s category, Tubay Erdal, who took sixth in the general category, won the Turkish edition by finishing the race in 2:41:11.
The marathon reversed its course for the first time this year. Instead of starting from the Asian side of the city, athletes took off from the European side. Another change to this year’s race was crossing the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge over the Bosporus twice this year.
The world’s only intercontinental marathon, in addition to being in the World Athletics' Gold category, the event was run without spectators due to the Covid-19.
The pandemic also forced organisers to scrap the 15km race and an 8km “public” run. Instead, participants were given the opportunity to “Run Alone, With Us” in which they could take part in virtual races of 5km, 10km or 15km.
There were also a pandemic-limited number of participants, as only 4,000 people ran the race compared with around 37,000 last year.
Athletes were required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters between them at the starting line and took off at five-second intervals in different groups to prevent crowding. They were only allowed to remove their masks after the marathon began.
The marathon began at Yenikapı, a venue allocated for large-scale rallies, on the city’s European side, to give more space to runners amid the pandemic. Athletes then crossed a route straddling in front of the city’s ancient city walls before reaching the iconic Galata Bridge.