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    Runatolia Half Marathon

    After our night in Antalya, we woke up early Sunday morning, ate breakfast, and got on the shuttle bus to the race start. This year, the race was called Runatolia. (David ran the 10k last year when it was called Runtalya.) We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. Antalya is just a beautiful place. The sky was clear and we could see the mountains.


    Runatolia Garden sign


    Two of our friends ran the half with David and our other friend ran her first full marathon. I love the energy at races. And it’s a great place to people watch. The race start is always such a sea of colors! There were over 6,000 runners this year.

    David was very pleased with his time. I nearly missed him. I was chatting with Dale and we realized David was yelling at us as he flew towards the finish. It was the first time he had run a half marathon and he finished in 1:55:13. He finished 597th (out of 1,740) and 224th (out of 559) in his age group.


    Turkish statue pouring water


    Friends before the race


    Shoe chips


    Runatolia with mountains


    Runatolia start


    It was like a giant Where is Waldo page… but I found them:


    Friends at race start


    Dale waving


    David running


    David with his medal


    Hannah running


    Shawn at the finish



    A Night in Antalya

    Last weekend we traveled south to Antalya for the RunAtolia Marathon (formally known as Runtalya). Last year we flew down, but one of our friends has a car and invited us to ride with her. We left early on Saturday morning. It took us about 7 hours to make it to the coast. I really like getting to see the landscape of Turkey when we drive. So many mountains, and crops, and colors.


    Driving down to Antalya


    Antalya oranges


    Antalya was sunny, in the mid 60’s, and gorgeous! We stopped by the race registration and then headed to our hotel. Our friend found an AMAZING deal through a travel agent for an all-inclusive stay at Akra Barut. It was one of the nicest places we’ve stayed at… and it was less than the price of a typical hotel in the States! Our stay included a huge buffet dinner on Saturday night, breakfast Sunday morning, and a shuttle to the race start.


    Akra Barut Hotel


    We have another friend who swears by staying in a nice hotel the day before a race. We can understand why!


    Akra barut hotel room


    I loved that the hotel was right on the Mediterranean. Being near the sea is good for my soul.


    Akra Barut Pool


    Stick pile by the sea


    Plant with purple edges


    David looking out to sea




    Mediterranean Sea boat


    Leah by the sea


    David climbing rocks


    Antalya water at night


    Here was the view from the balcony of our room:


    Akra Barut


    We had a great night’s rest before the race day. More on the marathon soon!



    Runtalya: Antalya 10K

    After the Istanbul Marathon, David really wanted to run another race. Several of our friends signed up for Runtalya and he decided to join them. A month before the race, David sprained his ankle and was on crutches for over a week. It took a while, but it healed enough for him to run in the 10K.

    We left after school on the last day of March and traveled south to Antalya. It was a very quick trip. We got in late on Friday, hung out Saturday, they ran Sunday morning, and we left Sunday afternoon.


    Ankara to Antalya


    Where we stayed: We stayed at Altun Apart Hotel and highly recommend it. Each “room” is a small apartment with a bedroom, living area, and small kitchenette. It was very clean and the owners were friendly and accommodating. We had two rooms; the guys stayed in one and they let us squeeze five girls into the other.

    It was nice to have a day before the race. We slept in and walked to Konyaaltı Beach, just a few blocks from our hotel. It was overcast and foggy, but we could still see an outline of the mountains in the distance.


    David on the Antalya beach


    Leah on the Antalya beach


    Rocky beach


    Antalya beach and mountains


    We found a cafe near the water for breakfast. It was a little chilly out, but warmer than it was in Ankara.


    Antalya restaurant


    I love Turkish breakfast! You can find it buffet style at most hotels. Restaurants also serve single portions or family style. Turkish breakfast includes cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, meat, pastries, fruit, bread, and çay. Yum!


    Turkish breakfast in Antalya


    After breakfast, we went to the race check-in at Terra City mall. Then we got coffee and walked around the old city. The port was really pretty at night:


    Antalya port


    The next morning was race day. It was a smaller event than the Istanbul Marathon. Still, the energy at these races just might be enough to inspire me to run one someday.


    Runtalya start


    Three of us tagged along as cheerleaders. We went up on the overpass before the start of the 10K. It was a sea of bright colors below us!


    Runtalya 10k Start


    Here’s David in the last stretch of his race:


    David running towards the finish line


    And there he goes to the finish line! He passed a couple of people at the end.


    David finishing his 10k


    David's 10k Medal


    There is something really incredible about the race community. Here’s a group called Adım Adım (“step by step”) that runs for charity:




    We saw runners both young and old:


    Older runtalya athlete


    This man is an incredible athlete. We also saw him at the Istanbul Marathon.


    Runtalya runner on crutches


    There was even a man who juggled while he ran:


    Runtalya runner juggling


    All of our friends ran the 10K. After they finished, we stuck around to see the first place marathoner:


    The marathon winner


    It was a great weekend getaway!


    The runners and cheerleaders


    David was happy with his time of 52:36 considering he had just come off of an injury. See his results on the Runtalya website. You can search for “Benedid.”