The 2016 Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon – Summary and 41 Images


I just returned from Istanbul where I spent the weekend doing some media work for the organizers of last Sunday’s Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon. It was the 11th edition of the event, but just the second that featured a professional elite field.

The men’s race was quite competitive, won by Ali Kaya of Turkey in 1:00:16, a new national record and European Under-23 record. He ran impressively to beat a solid field which included two world record holders: Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, the world record holder over the half marathon distance, and Kenyan Leonard Komon, the world record holder at 10km and 15km.

Violah Jepchumba of Kenya was dominant in the women’s race, winning by more than a minute in 1:08:17.

In the specialist distance running and track & field media, the weekend was dominated by the London Marathon, one of the premiere 42.2km races in the world. Given that, we managed to attract some decent coverage. A sampling of stories that appeared via press releases I produced and distributed:



Ali Kaya and Leonard Langat at the 2016 Istanbul Half Marathon

Ali Kaya and Leonard Langat at the 2016 Istanbul Half Marathon


Image Gallery – 2016 Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon

Below is an image gallery featuring 41 photos of the elite athletes that figured prominently in the race. I shot from a vehicle leading the men’s contest, so unfortunately there are very view images from the women’s.

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Coverage of the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships, Doha 2016

I just returned from Doha, Qatar, where I spent last week working with the local organizers’ press team for the 7th Asian Indoor Track & Field Championships. Nearly 300 athletes from 36 countries competed in the three-day event, the largest Asian sporting competition, in terms of participating nations, that will be held in 2016.

Our work appeared in numerous local, regional and international media outlets; below are a links to my daily reports published by the IAAF, the international governing body for track and field.

This was my eighth working visit to Qatar since early 2010, and it’s always interesting to see how rapidly its capital Doha continues to grow and change. You can check out several posts, articles and images from previous visits on my blog here.


Runners From Palestine Journey to Beirut to Exercise Their Freedom to Move

Cross-posted from my blog, Piran Cafe

Republication of this story is welcome and encouraged. Details are here.

BEIRUT, LEBANON – Seasoned marathon runners often talk about hitting “the wall”, that latter stage of a race when mental and physical barriers move from being difficult to really, really difficult.

Organizers and participants of the now annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem have additional walls, very real ones, to consider before they even take their first step. One, the Separation Barrier that divides the West Bank city, is among the reasons that 3,200 runners participated in the race last April to claim, for at least a few hours, their freedom to move.

Moved by the Right to Movement“We don’t even control a 42.2 kilometer stretch of road in the West Bank,” said Diala Isid, an organizer of the race. “So runners need to pass the same route four times in order to finish the full marathon. Because that’s the only road that we are in control over, and the only road that we can close because of the Israeli occupation.”

Isid, an architect from Ramallah, was among a dozen runners from Palestine who came to race in last Sunday’s Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon and to raise awareness of Right to Movement, a nonprofit organization that uses running to focus attention on what it sees as one of the most basic of human rights: the right to move.

Article 13 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement”. But, organizers say, not everyone has that option.

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Elite Athlete Images From the 2015 Beirut Marathon

Jackson Limo winning the 2015 Beirut Marathon

Jackson Limo winning the 2015 Beirut Marathon

BEIRUT, LEBANON — This is Jackson Limo of Kenya who won today’s Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon in a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and four seconds, breaking the course record by nine seconds. Below is Hussein Awada, the first Lebanese to cross the line. He finished eighth overall.

Hussein Awada of Lebanon at the 2015 Beirut Marathon

Hussein Awada of Lebanon at the 2015 Beirut Marathon


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2015 Ljubljana Marathon – Coverage and Image Gallery

Paul Kipkemboi at the 2015 Ljubljana Marathon

Paul Kipkemboi at the 2015 Ljubljana Marathon


Here are a handful of shots from today’s 20th Ljubljana Marathon, won by Ethiopians Limenih Getachew and Melkam Gizaw. Above, Kenyan Paul Kipkemboi leading the men’s race as a pack of 12 approached the midway point.

Getachew clocked 2:08:19 for his first career marathon win, setting a new race record. Gizaw stopped the clock in 2:25:42, 18 seconds shy of the race record set six years ago, but a new personal best by 42 seconds.

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Coverage From the World Youth Track and Field Championships, Cali 2015

Maribel Vabessa Caicedo at the World Youth Championships in Cali

I was in Cali, Colombia last week as part of the reporting team for the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, for the ninth edition of the IAAF World Youth Championships, a gathering of the planet’s finest 15, 16 and 17 year-old athletes. Above is Maribel Vanessa Caicedo of Ecuador after the semi-finals of the 100 meter hurdles when she suddenly emerged as one of the fastest teenagers of all-time. Her unlikely rise continued when she won the title about three-and-a-half hours later, claiming the first gold medal ever at these championships for Ecuador. She was smiling a lot then, too.

Besides several event previews and reports, I also contributed a few athlete features as well:

And if want to put a face to a name, I posted some quick snapshots of a few of the athletes on my blog here, here and here.


Media Facilities At The 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship – Notebook And Gallery

Lusail Media Center 3

I spent more than three weeks in Doha, Qatar, in January covering the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship.

Several colleagues have since asked me about the facilities and work conditions for journalists; interest was particularly high since Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and more recently was awarded the 2019 World Athletics Championships –one of the largest sporting events in the world– by the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body. It’s also no secret that Qatar is yearning to host a Summer Olympic Games. This event, the first team championship hosted by the emirate, was a pivotal early test for the bid that is gradually being put in place.

Nothing beats live - 2015 World Handball ChampionshipSo, here’s a summary based solely on my experience in one of the three venues used for the championship. Bear in mind that this is not an official report on the media operations nor should it be construed as anything remotely resembling one. It’s simply a collection of notes and observations as seen through my keen eyes.

When approaching a major sporting event hosted by Qatar, it’s impossible to ignore the financial resources available to the natural gas-rich Gulf state. Qatar is the richest country per capita on the planet; from its recently opened $16 billion airport to the brand new venues and their state of the art facilities, that wealth was impossible for any observer to ignore. But besides the promise of new purpose-built arenas, how many other potential host bids –for just about any sport– can promise to invite some 700 journalists –all expenses paid for an 18-day championship? Most handball experts and long-time observers agreed that Qatar 2015 managed to raise the bar impossibly high.

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