Running for a Cause

Although charity runs are popular events in many countries, the concept is not so widespread in Turkey. A few years ago a group of runners in Istanbul initiated a movement which they named Step by Step (Adım Adım) where runners participating in major events would ask their friends to support them not only by their cheers but by making a donation to a charity in support of those in need.

During the Antalya Marathon organized in March 2010, runners for Adım Adım managed to raise a staggering 247,000 TL for three different charities: one devoted to the education of children in a small province in the east of Turkey, one in support of patients with cerebral paralysis, and one donating scholarships to university students who in turn, take part in community service projects.

One of the runners who took part in the Antalya Marathon, running her first half-marathon at the age of 54, is a member of the Bilkent community, Nermin Fenmen. She completed the 21,1 km half-marathon in 2 hours 11 minutes and ranked 11th out of 25 in her age group. In her efforts to complete this test of endurance, she was not alone. Her friends and colleagues donated a total of over 1200 TL as a pledge in her name to these charity groups.

Nermin Fenmen is now training for the Eurasia Marathon to be held in İstanbul on October 17. She will be running 15 K, a shorter distance than the one she ran in Antalya. However this time she will be running with a different mission. She will be leading a blind runner, Necdet Turhan, aged 40, who lost his eyesight while still at university and has never given up his life as a sportsman. She has also volunteered to take part in a group of runners who in turn, will be pushing the wheelchairs of patients with cerebral paralysis to show the world that being handicapped is not a reason to stay away from sporting events.

Again, she will be running for Adım Adım and hopes that her friends will be with her with their pledges in this event also.