The idea of organizing a marathon race which would be run from Asia to Europe was first proposed by Daily Tercüman in 1973. However, this idea was rekindled 1978 after some city officials were informed that a certain group of German tourists would be visiting Istanbul the following year. What set these German tourists apart from others was the fact that they ran marathon races in the countries they visited. In the end, these tourists who had last run in the Nile Marathon organized in Egypt, expedited the idea of organizing a marathon race to be run from Asia to Europe, that is, the first Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon.
The event was given an official seal of approval with the invitation of top Turkish athletes to participate in the marathon with the German tourists who visited Istanbul in 1979. Following the completion of arrangements for the marathon race course and other matters related to traffic, the race was ready to begin. The 74 long-distance runners, 34 of whom from the tourist group, gathered behind a starting line drawn 700 meters behind the Bosphorus Bridge and the starting gun for the First Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon was fired. The Bosphorus Bridge was crossed for the first time in its then six-year history by a group of local and foreign athletes on April 1, 1979. This was the first race in history which was run between any two continents. This first race organized in 1979 was won in an official time of 2:35:39 by Hasan Saylan, a Turkish long-distance runner from the province of Zonguldak. The marathon consists of three different races (10 km, 20 km and 42 km). The number of races was later increased to four with the addition of a 15 km walking race.
The first race generated enormous publicity throughout the world and the General Directorate of Physical Education and Turkish Athletic Federation (TAF) rolled up their sleeves to transform the event into a permanent fixture.
The course of the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon has undergone three route changes since its first run. In recent years, the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon has been run in four different races of varying distances ("Marathon", "15 km", "8 km" and "Fun Run") and has been organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
It is the most important international marathon organized in Turkey. For more detailed information, please visit http://www.istanbulmarathon.org