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Turkey Competes In Everest Marathon For The First Time

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Amateur athlete Ece Vahapoglu, 1st Turkish competitor in 'world's highest race,' takes 4th place in half-marathon

An amateur female Turkish athlete took part in Monday’s Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon, the first time a Turk has participated in the event in the Himalayas of Nepal.

Author and journalist Ece Vahapoglu came in fourth among women in the half-marathon (21 km or 13 mile) category in the “world's highest and most difficult marathon,” she posted on Twitter Tuesday.

The race commemorates the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest by the Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953, according to the event’s website.

Vahapoglu ran the race in three hours and 48 minutes in the half-marathon category, competing against 24 people.

“I only focused on finishing without getting hurt. I understand durability is as important as speed. I am very happy with how I placed,” she said, stressing that the top three competitors were professional athletes.

“It was the hardest adventure in my life. Seven of the competitors had to be taken by helicopter to hospital,” she added, saying that she felt pride and excitement to represent Turkey. “I accomplished my biggest dream and goal.”

Vahapoglu said they will make a documentary of her experiences in the race in order to promote awareness of sports.

"I would like to thank the president of Turkey and his wife Emine Erdogan, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the 'Sportz for Everyone' Federation for their support and contributions," she added.

Some 200 people from 34 countries took part in this year’s event. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest marathon in the world.

Reporting by Halil Ibrahim Avsar; Writing by Kubra Chohan

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