That’s the overriding memory of any Runtalya Marathon (Runtalya Maratonu) event; just a mass of colour – and a great atmosphere, too, of course.
Over the years, the Runtalya Marathon – and its half marathon and 10k distances – has grown into what is arguably Turkey’s biggest road running event outside of Istanbul.
Each year, on the first weekend of March, amateur runners (and a few pro runners, too) from around the world descend on the beautiful city centre of Antalya.
They’re here to toe the Runtalya start line.
To PB Or Not To PB
And the aim is to head off around the course in the hope of landing a new PB after weeks or months of following respective training plans.
Or, for some, it might be a ‘just finish‘ event. They’ll reach the finish line all in good time – and maybe raise a few lira for charity in the process.
And that’s why we love this event; people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities will be there, taking part.
Favourite Running Event?
It’s definitely one of my favourite runs – if not the favourite.
- It’s big. But not too big.
- It takes place in March. So we can find the best training plan and train through winter instead of the hotter months in Fethiye. Much easier to build up the weekly mileage in cooler weather.
- The Runtalya routes take in some of the best scenery around the Antalya coastline.
- Whilst the marathon and the half marathon head out to the famous Lara Beach area, the 10k route takes you through the winding, pedestrianised streets of the old town, Kaleiçi and Karaalioğlu Park.
- Not forgetting the finish line – all that hard-earned fitness coming to fruition to get you there in the first place. Then the final kilometre is downhill! Bliss!
- And, because Antalya is on the Mediterranean coast, it’s usually an event that feels decidedly springlike.
- If it’s a clear day, the mountain views are stunning; the higher peaks shrouded in snow from the winter months.
Mild temperatures, mostly sunny (although we have had the odd rainy day), and that means we can make a weekend of it and enjoy all that Antalya has to offer.
So much more to see and do, of course. But that’s just a glimpse of what’s on offer.
Each year, the colour theme for the event is different.
These days, the ‘Runtalya village’ is in the area next to the start-finish line – Cam Piramit.
We usually pick up our chips and t-shirts the day before the run. This is when you know what the dominant colour of the event will be.
Interspersed with that will be the thousands, of course, who prefer to run in club t-shirts, their own preferred choices and charity t-shirts.
It makes for an amazing rainbow sight at the start line.
Supporting The Runners
The Cam Piramit (Glass Pyramid) you can see in the top photo at the start line is actually part of a culture park.
The park is always busy with lots of other Billy-No-Mates people who are also waiting for friends and family to reach the finish line and return, adorned with a medal, from their runs.
If you’re not taking part, there’s a handful of places around the park to grab a glass of çay and a gözleme. Dramatic sea views along the edge of the park and a small lake area – plenty of opportunities for photos.
Cheering The Runners Home
If you are waiting for loved one to finish their race and you want to cheer them in, don’t forget to keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss them!
Of course, life is made easier these days for those of you who follow each other on GPS. You can enjoy your mooch around the park with a very good idea of the progress your runner-friend is making.
Runtalya is an out-and-back event, so the finish line is also the start line, making it easier for you to meet up afterwards.
We always stay in the Kaleiçi area so the walk back from the finish line follows the route. Much cheering to be done on the way back to the hotel – especially for those amazing marathon runners!
If you want to take part in the Runtalya Marathon event, the city is served by Antalya Airport.
From here, you can take a taxi to your hotel. Or take the bus or tram directly from the airport.
If you are arriving from within the country by intercity bus, the otogar is also connected to the tram system as well as municipality buses. So getting around is easy.
The longer distances – the half marathon and the marathon – are run on wide tarmacked roads so lots of people aim for a PB here, especially those with previous running experience.
The 10k goes through the old town which can be a bit slippery in damp weather. But this is my run of choice and PBs are possible.
The course is often described as flat. This is slightly misleading as there are a few long gradual climbs and descents on all routes.
Whilst the date of the race changes slightly each year, it always takes place on the first weekend in March.
The event has a marathon, half marathon and a 10k event.
For 2024, a 5k fun run has also been introduced.