The Ebola virus has reached far and wide, even finding a way to possibly disrupt the Pyongyang Marathon, taking place in North Korea. After making national headlines, several safety precautions were put into place, including a ban from the event for foreign runners. However, the ban has now been lifted, just in time for 28th edition of the race, and all are welcomed to participate.
Although there was a lot of back and forth about the issue, the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) has graciously lifted Ebola related restrictions on traveling inbound. Since this is only the second year the race has been available to foreign runners, it was a big deal to many who wanted to participate and show their mettle. A win or even a respectable finish at this event could result in great career benefits. Although not a staple for any career runner, doing well in prestigious races like the Pyongyang Marathon, also known as the Mangyongdae Price International Marathon, definitely make for a stronger competitor.
Now, Uri Tours has prolonged the deadline for four tours departing from Shanghai and Beijing. There is less than 2 months left to go until the marathon, and many are racing to sign up. The instructions for doing so are very specific: would-be runners need to book through an official DPRK tour operator. After that, the standard questions of which category of race to sign up for, where to start, and other helpful tips are all provided. The only downside to the operation is that accommodations are going very fast, both for travel and for lodging.
The registration fee for the full marathon is $100 USD, while the half marathon goes for $70 USD, and the 10K for $50 USD. Spectators only have to pay $28 USD if they want to watch soccer ball matches in the famous Kim II Sung stadium. The distance of the full marathon is 42.195 km, and the half marathon is 21.0975 km. Professional runners obviously have a different set of rules and purpose than others running for fun, but in the end, everyone has a good time.
With several varying rules depending on the type of runner you are, there should be a lot more chaos in the race, but true to the sponsors, it is well run and organized. Reporters that have been dispatched to cover the race are in some ways happier than the runners. Bets are also already being placed on who will finish first, but for all the runners wanting to participate, it’s about getting there to begin with.
Photo Source: Uri Tours