I’m leaving on a jet plane for Cappadocia Turkey! Why, pray tell? I’m running the Runfire Cappadocia 20K, part of the the Runfire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon!
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, in conjunction with Argos in Cappadocia, has put together a media trip for this year’s race. They’d first invited me out to the inaugural event in 2012, but the race was taking place shortly before my wedding so it was a no-go. There was no race in 2014. But this year, I’ll be there and writing a story about the experience for Shape.com.
Runfire Cappadocia is a six-stage ultra marathon in Central Anatolia, taking runners from a rock formation known as “Three Graces” in Uchisar to the white salt of Lake Tuz across 160 miles through arid plains. Conical rock formations make stone “fairy chimneys” as they’ve come to be known, and caves form the basis for dwellings that date to the 4th century. Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To run among all of it? I can’t wait.
This year is the first time Runfire Cappadocia has offered six different categories of races.
There’s the RFC 20K I’ll be running, which comprises the first 20K of the ultra marathon; the RFC Ultra, which includes 260K over 6 stages in 6 days, all self-supported; the RFC Toughest Day, which is the longest stage of the Ultra at 104K; Discovery 6D, where runners cover 15-20K per day for 6 days while fully supported by race staff; Discovery 4K, where runners cover 15-20K per day for 4 days while fully supported by race staff; and corporate team races.
I’ll be touring Cappadocia for two days before the race begins, then running the 20k and bits of the ultra for three days to get a feel for the event and the terrain.
I wish I could commit to one of the longer categories, but my schedule and stress fracture recovery prevent it. I’ve been back to running for 12 weeks since my injury. I’ve successfully rebuilt my longest run from scratch, starting at 2 miles and building to 13 miles so far.
It’s tempting to say, Yeah, I can run 9-12 miles a day for 4 or 6 days in row! But I know I shouldn’t, especially when my weekly mileage has barely topped 20 miles so far. So it’s the 20K and bits of the other days for me.
Then I’ll spend two days in Istanbul to get a taste of one of Eurasia’s grandest cities.
I visited Turkey for all of one day as a 16-year-old on a high school trip to Italy and Greece. I was a Latin and Classics student, so we tromped around the Mediterranean touring ancient sites in Rome, Pompeii, Athens, and beyond. Our one-day stop in Ephesus, Turkey was a highlight. Once a great Greek, then Roman, city of antiquity, Ephesus housed one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Though that temple is long gone, other ruins remain, like the facade of the Library of Celsus.
But this time around, I’m excited to see a bit more of the country than one day allows—the ancient and the modern, the natural and the man-made. I’m not just going to see it. I’m going to run it. See you in Turkey!