The call to prayer sounds out across the dark empty streets of Bodrum where runners are huddled in the breaking dawn; warming up before the inaugural Bodrun 50km. It’s late November and the morning air is cool but the runners are all dressed for the heat that’s expected later in the day to reach up to 25 degrees. Bodrum is located on the southern peninsula of Turkey with Greece in touching distance across the pristine blue waters of the Aegean Sea and enjoys warm temperatures year around so a perfect winter escape.
With a choice of 3 distances; 50km, 23km and 10km the race offers an option for all abilities to take part. The 50km route duly delivered on its promise to offer a challenge with 1,900m worth of climbing through technical trails taking you on the peaks above Bodrum city and back along the coastline. A mixture of terrain as you run through small villages on cobbled roads connected via dusty fire trail paths and rocky goat tracks through the steep cliffs with an almost irresistible temptation to dive into the crystal-clear water as the final 10k includes a stretch along the pebbly coastline.
The races intertwine in the final 10km with the 50k runners coming across the 23k runners from the other direction giving way to camaraderie in the form of friendly cheers and well wishes as the runners cross paths and the hospitable nature of the Turkish volunteers is apparent along the way at the checkpoints ensuring smiles and encouragement are plentiful. People are the true reflection of a country and you will be hard pressed to find more friendly and welcoming people than the Turkish.
What better way to recover from race soreness and truly indulge in the local culture with a couple of hours in a traditional Turkish Hamam where you will be steamed and scrubbed until you are squeaky clean and ready to sit back and feast on some of the local delicacies to truly aid your recovery. With seafood as the specialty you will be spoilt for choice matched by the freshest of salads and completed by Turkish tea and baklava.
Turkey; a country of cultures colliding where East meets West in an evocative pot of smells, sounds and experiences; offers an easy yet adventurous getaway for Europeans and Brits able to combine a long weekend of competitive racing in an exotic location with the cultural escape of a holiday destination that’s remarkably easy on the pocket. Try something truly unforgettable yourself today and Explore, discover and race.