Thursday 14 April 2016

I went to North Korea & ran 10k in the Pyongyang marathon

I first read about the Pyongyang marathon late last year via the Just Run Lah Faceboook page.

I immediately wanted to join - if I could get my Korean-speaking sister to go with me. I did by offering to pay for the whole trip for both of us.

Which was how I ended up in North Korea on Sunday morning getting ready for my 10km run in the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon.

It would be my first race overseas.

Here I am on the tour bus pinning my race bib on my ugly T-shirt given by the travel company that brought us to DPRK:

Flag-off was 9.30am inside the May Day Stadium, but first, we have to wait for the opening ceremony.

Here we are posing with our tour group in the stadium tunnel:

The video below shows us going into the stadium onto the field for the opening ceremony. This was the best part of the trip for me:

Another video, taken by my sister:

After the opening ceremony, we had to rush back into the tunnel and change into our running gear for the flag-off.

Below are photos of the 10km route taken with my Autographer camera:

Yes, I did get to high five (or low five) the Korean bystanders along the way, especially the kids.

One major disappointment about the race is that the 10km finish line is just mats. You can barely tell that it's the finish line.

There was no one giving out finisher T-shirts or medals because only the top finishers in the various categories get medals during the closing ceremony.

Although there were drinks station along the way, there was no one giving you water after you finish. That's why I was saving my water from the last drinks station, knowing it was almost 10km. You can see me holding a cup after crossing the mats in the photo below.

After the race, my sister spoke to these children to find out whether they were actors hired to be there for our benefit. She concluded that they weren't.

Don't believe everything you see in The Interview.

I don't know why my marathon certificate says I'm female.

I kind of wished I had signed up for the half marathon so that I could've seen more of Pyongyang and its people on foot, and made the trip more worthwhile.

Because of the cooler-than-Singapore weather, I think I might have been able to make the two-and-a-half-hour cut-off time for the half marathon.

Maybe next year?


I went to North Korea & asked for the Kim Jong Un haircut (and lived)

I went to North Korea & took lots of selfies


Strictly no selfies with Kim Jong Un! 1,000 foreigners flock to North Korea for the world's strangest marathon

More Than 1,600 Runners Take Part in Pyongyang Marathon

An American in North Korea: What it's like to run the Pyongyang marathon