Q&A WITH… ÜZEYIR SÖYLEMEZ

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Country: Turkey

Profession: Athlete – Marathon

Üzeyir is former middle distance (1500 – 5000m) athlete, in which he has won 12 National Championships. He then transitioned to road running and ran his first marathon in 2015.

He has a YouTube channel where he shares tips on running and a behind the scenes look at his training and competitions.

Can you describe what goes through your mind in that last 10kms of a marathon when it begins to really hurt?  

In the last 10k of the marathon my brain is constantly making excuses for me and forcing me to quit. I always think of my family to overcome that challenge

Of all your national championships, which one did you find the most challenging to win?

It would have to be when I broke my toe in the 3000m steeplechase at the selection for the Islamic Games. I finished the race with the injury and qualified to compete in the national team.

You usually spend time in Kenya to prepare for your races, what was your biggest lesson from the experience?

The biggest lesson I took when I prepared in Kenya was teamwork and unity.

Turkey has such a rich history and culture – what do you love most about your country?

What I love most about my country are the weather seasons, its food, its kind-hearted people and my culture.

You seem to really love travelling – why do you think it is important for people to travel to new places?

I see traveling to new places and meeting new people as discovering oneself, not just seeing the world.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I have watched Interstellar and 4 Minute Mile too many times.

What is the best comfort food for you?

Pasta and pizza.

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