A roadside field guide to places and things along the Pyongyang Marathon course. Today we introduce the Pyongyang Marathon and our guide.
'It was a Paris of visions in which I took my walks now, a Paris that, though intensely real, was imperceptibly migrating from flesh to spirit.' -Julian Green, Paris
I am no long-distance runner. In fact, I am quite the opposite. In my school days I was a sprint swimmer - nothing above 100 meters ever. And so for the last three years at the Pyongyang Marathon, I have walked the 10 km race, coming in second to last my first year; going over the two hour time limit the second years; and just two seconds under last year. Walking has become something of a tradition and it is nice to have the time to take in the streets, that is, if you can take the persistent encouragement of locals, watching from their balconies yelling, ‘Run! Don’t walk!’ and ‘Balli, balli!’ That’s Korean for ‘faster, faster!’
Personally I prefer to take things ‘Hawaii, Hawaii’*, as someone once put it. That is, I like the slow and leisurely way of doing things. ‘Walk, don’t run,’ as song by the Ventures goes, a song, I might add, adored by North Korean guitarists. I make it a policy to only run at three parts of the race: the start, the finish, and when a camera rolls by (see above).
Having walked much more than 10 km route while living and working Pyongyang, I can say there is a lot to see and talk about along the way. Since most everyone else will be actually running during the race, I hope our Pyongyang Marathon Runner’s Guide will give you an idea in advance of what you will see the fly.
Between now and April 8, I’ll walk through the race course introducing, post by post, roadside highlights, places of interests, and things to look out for during your run on of the most fascinating marathon courses in the world.
The Run Down
Interested in joining the 2019 race? All foreign participants are required to join a Pyongyang Marathon Tour, through which you can sign up for the event.
· This year’s Pyongyang Marathon has four amateur events: full-marathon (42 km), half-marathon (21 km), 10 km, and a new 5 km run.
· The top three participants of amateur men’s and women’s full, half, and 10 km races will take to the podium in the final award ceremony.
· The time limit for the 2019 is TBC.
· Both 5 and 10 km races are walkable at a leisurely pace.
In our next post of a Pyongyang Marathon Runner's Guide, we'll say a little about the city of Pyongyang itself and give a general overview of the marathon course.
'A Pyongyang Marathon Runner’s Guide’ is a roadside field guide to places and things along the Pyongyang Marathon course brought to you by the Koryo Tours North Korea Travel Guide.