Hello, on April 14th 2012, you’ll be organizing the Iznik 126K Ultramarathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
Iznik is located in Turkey, about 200 km southeast of Istanbul. It is quite easy to connect with both Istanbul’s airports, which are very well connected to the international flights web.
This will be the first edition of the race. What motivated you to create it?
We have organized more than 25 raids and orienteering races in the past years. Now we are starting trail running events in Istanbul.
After running the UTMB–TDS last year and Ultima Frontera 160 in Spain, I decided we could do it here. Up so far we lack ultra races. But the potential of Turkey is really big. We have picked this location for several reasons: it is easy to get here; the nature is gorgeous; the site has long and rich history; the weather is moderate and the route clear (around the lake). We also have motivated many local enthusiasts there and this was very important when getting help from local institutions.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
Iznik Ultra 126K circles the Iznik lake. The Iznik Ultra course starts at the main square next to the 1,500 year old church and hits dirt just after 6-7 km. Circling clock-wise, you need to tackle two 700m ascents on the big hills. This section gives magnificent overviews of the lake.
At Soloz, Half Lake Run 60K runners stop at the village filled with authentic houses. The rest of the course is flat, running mostly between olive gardens. Just before getting back to Iznik, runners will run over a 2,000 year old ancient Roman bridge…
It is a great route if you like to feel the land you run on, there are lots to feel. The first 60K section is the most technical part, especially after the rain.
How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
For 2012, we expect 50-70 runners. Maybe more as UTMB has just shifted up to 7 points for qualification, Iznik races offering 3 points and 1 point. Most of the Turkish runners will be running their first or second ultras. We hope to develop the event in the coming years. Our aim is to attract ultra runners with tight budget and who like to combine runs with holidays.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
We organize 3 races during that weekend. The two ultra races run on the same route: Iznik Ultra 126K circles the Iznik lake and the Half Lake Run 60K runs the first 60 km tackling the big hills south of the lake. There is a third race which is a 10K fun run, organized for the support crew, some volunteers and local people who enjoy running in Iznik.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
Weather will be moderate, probably between 10 and 15°C with a 30% probability of rain. During the coldest hours in the night (for 126K runners) the temperatures could drop to 2-5°C.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
The 10K fun run is the main festivity. There will be local Turkish music shows. Iznik town center itself is an open-air museum with art exhibitions that go all yearlong.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Iznik before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Iznik, which served as the capital of four big states in history offers more than 50 great places to visit just within the city walls! The famous Hagia Sophia church, home for Second Council of Nicaea is a must. The natural hot spring and swimming pool 15km from the center (also used as a checkpoint for the Iznik Ultra) is an excellent recovery place for runners. Bursa, which was an important city for Ottoman Empire, is only 1-hour drive away. And the old city tour in Istanbul is a must for everybody. Iznik is also famous for its olives and meat grills.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Iznik 126K Ultramarathon?
A Single stage ultra with a shorter sister, circling a gorgeous lake, with easy and low cost logistics and high-end hospitality.
For more information
Interview with Caner Odabasoglu, Race director. Caner was born in 1975. He has a mountaineering and alpinism background of 15 years and started Orienteering and adventure racing in 2000. He has already finished 3 ultras last year, including UTMB-TDS. He runs a corporate training and outdoor event company, which is the only one still running in Turkey after 8 years and organizes 5 to 6 major events each year.