Turkey’s first female ultramarathon runner, Bakiye Duran, 62, is set to run in the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) that will be held Aug. 23.
Duran will run in the 300-kilometer (186.4-mile) UTMB, first held in 2003. The race will cover France, Italy and Switzerland and competitors will circle Mont Blanc massif in the Alps.
Born in the Black Sea province of Samsun in 1959, Duran told Anadolu Agency that the 2021 UTMB will have hard conditions with dangerous places in the mount area but she intends to complete it in good health.
She said that unlike urban races, the ultramarathon is difficult because it has tough weather and terrain such as hiking in the mountains, crossing rivers and rocky places.
Duran said the conditions and being permanently active for almost one week during ultramarathons improve an athlete physically and mentally.
This UTMB will be run in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc from Aug. 23 – 29.
Following the UTBM, Duran said she plans to run in the polar deserts in Sweden and Greenland as well as the Taklamakan Desert and Australian deserts.
A former chemistry teacher, Duran wrote a book about her running adventures and challenges in the Alps, Carpathian Mountains, Abu Dhabi Desert, Italy’s Sardinia, Kalahari Desert and Namib.
Passion to run
Duran said she was passionate about running in the village where she was born and then chose it because it is the base of all the sports disciplines.
She said basketball, tennis and volleyball require teams, teammates or partners but running is done alone and with simple equipment.
“You can put on your sneakers or rubber shoes to run. In fact, you can even do it barefoot on sand. Running can be done with simple outfits. You can run with your sports hijab, pajamas or slippers,” she said.
1989 Istanbul Marathon victory
Duran said she started to run professionally in the Istanbul Marathon, once called the Eurasia Marathon.
She was a chemistry teacher in Istanbul at that time but joined the race.
Duran said she won the 1989 Istanbul Marathon in the women’s category, completing the race in three hours and 33 minutes.
She then ran professionally for Istanbul sports club, Besiktas.
Duran said her first ultramarathon was in 2000 in the Netherlands, where she came third.
Now in her 60s, she said she was also third in the 100-kilometer Verona Marathon in Italy.