THOUSANDS pounded the streets of Girne in its municipal “marathon” on Sunday, raising funds for the Kemal Saraçoğlu Foundation for Children with Leukaemia and the Fight against Cancer.
A multinational field of more than 3,000 adults and children turned out for the inaugural Turkcell Girne Marathon, held under the slogan “Although I Don’t Know You, I Am Running For You” and organised by Girne Municipality with EGAD Consultancy.
Three distances attracted competition from honed athletes and enthusiastic amateurs over 7km and 21km half-marathon distances, while children walked and jogged with their parents around a 3km course through the town centre.
There was a festive atmosphere as the sunny weather also brought out crowds of spectators to cheer the runners on.
Among those watching were Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, Labour and Social Security Minister Zeki Çeler and Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü, while former Turkish Athletics Federation head and national athlete Semra Aksu and Turkish Cypriot World Masters Athletics champion Hasan Kasap were guests of honour who presented the winners with their medals.
A delighted Kemal Saraçoğlu foundation coordinator Övgü İnce said “great effort” and “fantastic teamwork” had made the landmark event a huge success and a “beautiful and positive day”.
“We were also there, working throughout the whole event registering people, and we did our best to contribute to the achievement. It was an honour to have been part of it. On behalf of the foundation I thank the municipality, the mayor, EGAD and staff and each and every sponsor for helping in the making of a fantastic day,” she said.
Mrs İnce also hailed the “huge benefit” of the event in promoting Girne among foreign residents and visitors, and called for it to continue “with the same motivation, as such events are important for many cities around the world and create a character for them”.
Funds raised through entry fees and donations will be used by the foundation to provide financial and moral support to 77 cancer patients registered with them and their families.
Mrs İnce said 2017, when they supported 76 patients and families, had seen charity outgoings of 468,590TL, so they were in “desperate” need of such resources to keep up their work.
Start of the race