Thousands to run in Istanbul Marathon

Thousands of runners will throng Istanbul on Sunday to run the Vodafone 40th Istanbul Marathon, the world's only cross-continental race, Artı Gerçek news site reported

The marathon on Sunday has begun with the wheelchair race after July 15 Martyrs' Bridge, formerly known as the Bosporus Bridge, was closed to the traffic. 

The Istanbul Marathon is an international athletics event has been organised by the metropolitan municipality of Istanbul since 1979. 

The slogan of this year's marathon is "Run Istanbul for a Healthy Future." A record number of runners, 130,000 from 100 countries, are participating in the transcontinental marathon, Artı Gerçek said. 

55 elite athletes will run the marathon, while 30,000 professional runners are participating in the event. The event will be held in five different categories. About 5,000 runners, more than half of them foreigners, will compete in the 42-kilometre marathon. 

The marathon has started on the Asian side of July 15 Martyrs' Bridge, while the finish line is located at the historic Sultanahmet Square on the city's European side.

Kenyan athletes have left their mark on the Istanbul Marathon. In men's category Kenyan athlete Felix Kimuati and in women's category Ruth Chepngetich came in first by breaking the record.