An athlete with a white collar and chasing his dreams: An Interview with ASICS Turkey Running Team Captain

Sport Tourism

Read Time: 11 min 30 sec

Tranlated by YAVAS, Gamze and OCAKKUCUK, Abdullah


This interview was carried out with Gürkan Kazancı, Turkey ASICS Running Team Captain, on 25/07/2020.
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The interview was conducted in Turkish and the translations were made by Gamze Yavaş and Abdullah Ocakk Küçük. Telephone and e-mail were used as communication tools.

Sitorbis Team


>> Gürkan Kazancı was born on July 23, 1990 in Altındağ, Ankara, Turkey. Completing his high school and university education in İzmir, Kazancı graduated from Çınarlı Anadolu Technical and Industrial Vocational High School and Ege University Electronic Communication Technology schools. He is currently studying at Anadolu University, Department of Business Administration. After he captain in Karşıyaka One Team, one of Izmir's and Turkey's leading run organization, he is taking on a task as ASICS Turkey Running Team captain at ASICS, a Japanese organization now. <<



1. We talked briefly about you, but let's also hear it from you. Who is Gürkan Kazancı? When did your curiosity about sports and especially running begin? Is there an event or a person that inspires you in this regard?

I can say that Gürkan Kazancı is a white collar worker who has spent many years in Izmir and has been living in Istanbul for the last one year, who has always pursued his dreams and is a source of inspiration for people to take action even though he is not a professional athlete.

I had an interest in sports since my childhood, but I have been interested in running for the last 5 years. At this point, what inspires me is the motto of "Run for those who cannot run", which is the slogan of the Wings for Life World Run which was held in Izmir every year in May.

2. When did you attend your first run? How were you feeling?

Almost 5 years ago, having made running a part of my life, I decided to participate in Wings for Life World Run with the slogan “Run for those who cannot run” and I registered. Until that day, I was running both to keep fit and relax my mind. (Staying fit = Being able to eat a hamburger comfortably. When I attended that event, it was great to see thousands of people pouring sweat there for the same purpose, and it changed my entire perspective on this issue. After that day, I realized that running is not only a competitive sport, but also a field where we can touch people and create awareness.

3. How many races have you participated in total? Do you have an interesting or inspiring moment that you can't forget?

I participated in hundreds of races in total. I guess the organizations held in Turkey that I did not attend are quite less but Ultra Marathon race which was held in Cappadocia impressed me the most. It was a truly wonderful experience. They have always shown us fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, however; lush valleys are hidden behind those fairy chimneys.

When speaking of unforgettable memories, I am always reminded of what I felt after I completed the marathon distance 42.2 for the first time.

 It is the moment that gave me the power that takes me to finish the line in every race and inspired me to not to quit.

(Cappadocia Ultra Marathon, 2019)

4. We know that you are one of the captains of Karşıyaka One Team which is one of the leading formations for Karşıyaka and Izmir. How did this team, can you talk a little bit about the process? You also took part in various organizations throughout Turkey. PR studies, increase in your community, your communication with other running communities, etc. how did things happen?

The event “Wings for Life World Run” that I mentioned you before gave me opportunity to meet Karsıyaka One Team and I joined the team. Over time, the number of participants has increased significantly. The reason behind this increase is indeed thanks to the energy of the whole team and our common goal. Touching people and creating awareness. Our communication with other running communities has always been high-level and friendly. After all, at the end of the day, we are all trying to make people do something good for them.

5. You take in charge of the ASICS Running Team as a captain for the moment. Can you talk about the process of meeting ASICS, a Japanese organization? The idea of establishing such a team in Turkey came from them or it was an initiative of yours?

My meeting with ASICS is through the Karşıyaka One Team. After ASICS sponsored Karşıyaka One Team, we assumed the duties of Pacer, representing the brand ASICS on behalf of the team. The idea to establish its own brand team in Turkey belongs to them. After I moved to Istanbul, I continued to represent the brand as being the captain of ASICS Running Team and it was a great honor for me.

6. In Turkey, are incentives and supports for this kind of independent teams or  formations adequate? However, of course you have encountered various obstacle or heard from community. Can you speak of a little bit about them?

Currently in Turkey, there is no incentive or support for such groups or formations.  Teams can only survive with personal sacrifices and sponsor supports to maintain their continuity. 

7. We guess, the last time as a team, you have participated in the Cappadocia Ultra Marathon. It is an organization that appeals to very important and very broad audiences. How were both the race and the organization for you? 

We were last in Cappadocia as part of Ultra Marathon. Cappadocia has an amazing and magical atmosphere. There were athletes coming to the running from all over the world and it was a great pleasure to be with them. Seeing  that to be arranged of such world-class race in Turkey is a serious motivation for sports lover like us. As the ASICS Turkey team, we prepared very well for the organization and completed our race healthy. 

(Cappadocia Ultra Marathon, 2019)

8. Are you interested in other sports than running sport? Can you talk a little bit about your other hobbies and curiosities?

I also love cycling and swimming. For this reason, I set a goal to myself for 2021 to do a triathlon. Other than that, I love playing guitar and watching vision movies. Traveling and exploring new places are also among  the things I like the most to do.

9. You know that we have established Sitorbis in order to develop a responsible and sharing travel pattern under the special interest tourism sector. At this point, we have a motto that we always emphasize; "Tourism for non-tourists!"  In other words, we get traveller explorer's hands on in the direction of their interests, hobbies or specialties, and service providers for them.  You are a sports Explorer  for us and a stakeholder in international running  tourism. We know that you are constantly traveling both individually and as a team to participate in races or various events. So what were the cities or attraction centers that impressed you the most? Would you like to share the places you enjoy seeing and saying that " what a big luck to be here" with our readers?

That's why I liked Sitorbis very much. It is great to share my experiences as a sports explorer and to read to the experiences of people with different interests. By the way with this question I would like to thank you and your whole team. In the other questions, as I mentioned before, Cappadocia is one of the best of them, but there are so many beautiful routes and organizations  in Turkey, I can't never finish speaking of them. The routes I enjoyed running the most were Dalyan Caretta Run, Bodrum Ultra, Efes Ultra, Kaş Half Marathon and Uludağ Ultra respectively. Without any organizations, I also love to set certain places on the map in Fethiye and to run there on my own. All the bays of Fethiye are really fascinating. 

10. Lastly, do you have any advice for those interested in running sport and running tourism? Do you want to say something that can inspire and encourage them?

Starting to run will bring you things that can change your life in a positive way. For example, you will make a short vacation plans of 1-2 days to places where you could not create the opportunity before. And those 2 days will be as medicine to you after work stresses increasing from the crowd of the city. Maybe you will have a trip somewhere for business or maybe for some other reason. You will run by taking a time for yourself where you go and you will have the opportunity to explore the city by running. When you do this sport regularly, you will not be afraid to gain weight and you can eat whatever you want. This is the best for me :) Lastly, while doing this sport, you will gain a different discipline skill and this will always return to you positively in your daily and business life.

I definitely recommend you got to start at some point and I thank the Sitorbis team.

Thank you

Gürkan Kazancı











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