Izmir, a beautiful city on the west coast of Turkey, is known for some of the best beaches in the region. It’s also the nation’s third biggest city behind the capital Istanbul, and Ankara.
Volt Floyd was actually started in Istanbul, but after Ayşe Nur discovered there was no running crew in Izmir, she reached out to the founders and created her own branch in her city. Starting a run crew as a non professional runner in a city like Izmir is not an easy feat, and Ayşe Nur had significant societal pressure to overcome.
“When I started the crew here in Izmir I was 28 years old, and people expect me to be doing other things, not starting a run crew (Ed: Ayşe Nur is also doing her PhD in Bacterial Genetics).
“In my opinion, some long held expectations of society can put limits on us, especially for women. For instance there’s an expectation that you should make some money at your job but not more than your husband, and of course you should get married and have children before your thirties.
As long as you aspire to something different than these expectations, you will face more negativity than encouragement.
This just means you have to work harder and expect to struggle for your goals. You have to ignore other people’s judgements”.
12 months later, and Volt Floyd Izmir is going strong. Ayşe Nur has just completed her first marathon, and just like starting the crew, it’s an achievement rooted in determination and persistence.
“As a runner I think I am far from being a role model. I know how hard I need to work to become a better runner, and I am very stubborn about getting what I want”
Humble as she may be, there’s no doubt many in her community look up to Ayşe Nur. I’m curious to learn where she draws her inspiration from.
“Definitely my mom and some of my graduate teachers, but also since I’m interested in literature I admire some women writers who bravely shared their feelings and thoughts. Women such as Sylvia Plath and Virgnia Woolf”.
Ayşe Nur acknowledges the state of women’s affairs in Turkey and remains hopeful that society will continue to evolve.
“Women in Turkey have had so many rights, thanks to founder of our republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and I’m proud that women have the right to elect and be elected before a lot of European countries. The biggest issue is still access to quality education for girls. I haven’t seen a lot of improvements in the last decade, however it is pleasing to see more people using tools like social media to speak up about women’s rights”.
With women like Ayşe Nur fostering new communities and building culture in Izmir, the future is bright.
“Running makes me so happy and helps me discover sides of myself I didn’t know about. The crew has given me a lot of new friends and inspiring role models”.
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