İznik Ultra 60km: Event note

This year my cousin Ozi, who has been my inspiration with the valiant way he faces MS everyday, joined shift.ms – a young and dynamic social network run by its users, where young MSers meet, share experiences and support each other. Needless to say, I am following suit. Here is the link for the charity shift.ms and my fundraising page at JustGiving Now, read on….. After completing the 1,000kms of running for the 4 deserts challenge in 9 months last year, I was meant to take it easy…. But! Once again it is the start of a new season. Last weekend was my first race of the year, the inaugural İznik Ultra Marathon. In fact it was two races in one day, the full tour of the lake – 126km and a 60km. Both a feast for the legs especially compounded by the rolling hills and high climbs of the first 60km. Barely made it to the registration with Alain Wehbi who had arrived from Beiruth for the race. It was almost 11pm and we were both a little cranky. Especially when we realised that we were both missing mandatory pieces of equipment. Fortunately, the race organiser Caner was at hand and we were able to register and get to bed in time to have a few hours of sleep. İznik is a quaint and historical city, formerly known as the Greek City of Nicaea. Contemporary İznik is famous for its china, known by the city’s name. It is also rich with history and culture. A must visit if you are a frequent visitor to Istanbul or live there. It is an hour on the ferry and then a 40minute cab or minibus ride. Before falling asleep, we strategised about the run. The forecast was for rain at about 2pm. Therefore we agreed to target 7 hours. The course profile looked manageable. As soon as we woke up we heard an unwelcome noise. We opened the curtains and discovered that it was raining. The rain had arrived sooner than forecasted and with force. Fortunately, the rain eased off for the start and for most of the first half of the run. Despite the overcast skies, it was a beautiful run. The lake always in the foreground against the backdrop of snow capped peaks of Uludağ on the horizon. The path was mostly a trail or dirt village roads, rarely tarmac. Most of the runners were experiencing their first ultra distance but they were all very well prepared and greeting the event almost in a party atmosphere. The locals were well into it as well. Every village had a greeting committee of mostly children. Even the grannies were out wishing well to all the runners. All was well and fun until the second climb. In fact, this event is almost a mini-UTMB with two medium sized climbs with two steep descents with a little bit of undulating terrain in between. At the start of the second climb there is a main food station (the marathon checkpoint) at the village of Narlıca, then you head through the village roads on to the trail and no later than I stepped foot onto it the heavens opened up and did not stop till the finish. All the way through the climb I could not stop but wonder why I had left my poles in the hotel room. Once up top the way down was pretty straightforward. It was hard, wet, and muddy but fun and I survived. It was also the start of the season. There will be more this year, Jordan only a fortnight away and the dreaded UTMB a few months off. It is also the launch of the charity season with the slight change. The cause is still MS, the charity shift.ms – a web-based charity for people affected by multiple sclerosis. Ozi, moved over to work for them, as a volunteer, managing their SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimisation for the new comers of social media and online advertising). We do need support. We are aiming for £ 5,000 this year. We hope you will join us in achieving this goal. I am going to be doing two events for it; first a 250 km run in Jordan across Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba ending at Petra (I will have to download the Indianna Jones soundtrack for the finish) and then the dreaded UTMB a 100 miler single day event around Mont Blanc. As a friend once described it, a run from London to Birmingham,(or Paris to Le Havre, or NYC to Hartford, insert as appropriate) with something a little higher than Everst to climb and descent in the middle. I do accept per mile donations, as well. Though considering the distances I think you will be safer with a fixed rate. Click to donate JustGiving See you all soon Devrim

About Devrim

For the past 20 years, I have been a runner, having been a regular participant of the London marathon during the late 90s & early 2000s and others such as the Istanbul and San Diego. But when I moved to Cyprus in 2003, things took a turn for the worse. Suddenly 42 kilometres was no longer enough. I needed an activity to counter-balance work. That was when I discovered the concept of ultra-running. An ultra run is anything more than 50 kilometres. However, the need was such that I started with 250km long self-sufficient desert ultras. I have now completed 4 desert ultras in some of the most gruelling conditions, ranging from +60 to -20 Celsius, from the high planes of Atacama in Chile to the depths of the Gobi in China, from the sandy dunes of the Sahara to the ice fields of Antarctica. In 2011, I completed a desert ultra series, having run 1,000 kilometres across 4 deserts in 9 months carrying all my own equipment, water and food on my back.
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