Running Marathons in Korea (or trying to at least)

          And…………….. when I say marathons, I actually mean running 5Ks.  

          I loathe running. That is the plain and simple truth. I find it boring and unfulfilling. I am much more of a team/competitive sports kind of person. This is likely the result of playing soccer for almost a decade with one year of rugby thrown in just for fun. 

         But while living in Korea I decided to give running another chance, and I have to say I think I have gone from “loathe” to “dislike”, a significant improvement. 

Pohang Marathon, Korea, 2013 – the lovely orange shirts were provided

         Several of us girls decided that we would “train” for a 5K, and run it together in June (2013). I think we all had issues keeping to our training schedules, but we all finished, surprisingly faster than expected. We arrived the night before, stayed in a nice Love Motel, and were up bright early wearing our “gorgeous” orange race shirts.

          I finished in 26 minutes and some seconds, faster than I expected.  I sprinted to the finish line and started walking over to the side because I felt like I might need to throw up, when a guy grabbed my arm and hung something around my neck. 

         After the sick feeling passed, I checked what he had given me, and it turns out I won $20 for finishing in 7th place (7th female that is).  Not bad if I do say so myself.

Information for the Pohang Marathon (alert: it’s all in Korean)

 Gyeongju Marathon, also known as the Cherry Marathon 2014

The ladies: Pre-race group shot. We thoroughly enjoyed the group (meaning all runners) warm up and stretching session. 

          I signed up for the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon (5K), quite excited to run blissfully through the fluttering blossoms. In my mind, I run gracefully without any trouble breathing because I planned ahead and started training diligently two months before the race.

        Well………….. needless to say, my training started about two weeks before the race. To be truthful, I was the huffing and puffing foreigner with the red face. However, the blossoms were still beautiful regardless of my (lack of) fitness ability.

It’s Korea, so I got a medal for finishing. My time was worse than my Pohang time, but I still finished in under 30 minutes. 

“You can do it! Fighting!!” 
Whether going for a race, or just for fun, Gyeongju is a beautiful city to simply take a stroll in. Especially in Springtime!

Information for the Cherry Marathon (alert: also all in Korean)

The Race of Death:  The Spartan Race 2014

A must: pre-race posing with the Korean – Roman soldiers.

         When signing up for the Spartan race I was expecting a 5K race with 10+ obstacles scattered throughout. 

         We arrived at the ski resort, just outside of Seoul, and looked in disbelief at the course. 

First leg of the race: run UP the freaking ski hill!!

        Needless to say I almost died during this race as we were literally running a 5K up and down ski slopes PLUS doing obstacles such as climbing over walls, climbing up ropes, jumping over fire, and carrying bags of sand up and down hills. (to name only a few).

Tire lift.

Rope climbing.

        After an exhausting 2+ hours of running, jumping, climbing, ducking, dodging, lifting, sweating, cursing, complaining, dying, crying, crawling, rolling, scooting, carrying, throwing, did I mention crying, almost puking, and various other traumatizing verbs that shall not be mentioned………………..we finally made it to the end.

Group shot!
We almost died, but we did it!!

p.s. did I mention that if you couldn’t do an obstacle, or failed and obstacle you were required to do 30 burpees. Kill me now.

I am happy to say that I did complete the race, and only had to do 90 burpees in total. I am glad I signed up, won’t ever do it again, but to have completed the course once feels great.

A helpful list of races in Korea for those with a bent for running long distances for no apparent reason. 

2 thoughts on “Running Marathons in Korea (or trying to at least)

  1. You have more guts than I do! I would have looked at that first Spartan ski hill and said, “I am from the flatlands; we don't believe in hills”. Glad to know you're 5k times are better than the two I have done. 😉

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