Dear People of İzmİr...

Columnist and runner Yonca Tokbaş, who's been supporting Wings for Life World Run from day 1, put up a piece together on her column and called out the people of Izmir for a mission. A must read!

Here's how it goes:

On May 8, I am dreaming of joining an event where İzmir will be a role model for all Turkey.

Wings for Life World Run, the race that starts simultaneously all around world and whose proceeds go to spinal cord research will take place in İzmir this year. İzmir aims to be a city accessible to disabled people and is indeed a place where many people with disabilities can move relatively more comfortably. It gives me great hope that İzmir will run simultaneously with the world in order to raise awareness and money for cure.

This event is one of the biggest races of İzmir.

The event was publicized by İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu, Wings for Life World Run sports director Colin Jackson, The Spinal Cord Paralytics Association of Turkey Vice President Semra Çetinkaya, Accessible İzmir Congress President Levent Köstem, Wings for Life ambassadors Şahika Ercümen, Kenan Sipahi, Ahmet Arslan, and Pınar Karşıyaka Basketball Team Coach İnanç Koç at the Historical Coal Gas Factory.

Right before the press conference I met with those who wanted to join, those who were curious and the runners.

A simple “let’s meet up” call brought 60 of us together and my dear Izmir I believe that on May 8th we will run as thousands.

Dear Izmir, I know you well and trust you with all my heart.

Since dawn of time, there were pedestrians and cyclists on your streets. Movement is in your air and water; it is in your culture.

On May 8th, I will begin the race by pushing a wheelchair at Gündoğdu Square.

I will run as far I can. I wish that when we begin the race on 14:00, people of İzmir accompany us by showing their support. Let the joy come through the Boardwalk. Let it be heard from Güzelyalı coast apartments!

One Team project organized by Pınar Karşıyaka will involve athletes in wheelchairs as well.

To flow like water

So on May 8th, I want to run with people of İzmir and flow like water.

I dream that streets cheer for runners and the country sees how to support runners.

Participation fee is only 50 TL and all the proceeds go to spinal cord research.

If I was İzmir, I would never let any other town host this race.

I am extremely excited for the 8th of May.

I want it to be a breaking point; I want this to be a model for all races across Turkey.

Just like Paris marathon, this day should be a joyful sports day for İzmir.

You see that I am running in dreams.

After all, this race is different.

You run as far as you are able and at your own pace.

This is such an enjoyable race.

You run until the “Catcher Car” catches you.

Even if you are the slowest person on planet, you could go 3.5-4 kilometers.

You can get more information and sign up on the website.

I can’t keep still.

Come on, let’s join together.

Let’s run for those who can’t…

*This piece originally published in Hürriyet, Kelebek on February 26, 2016. 

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