North Korea opens up marathon race to foreigners

Saturday, April 5th, 2014. Filed under: Destinations Sports & Recreation
Runners of the North Korean marathon will be crossing Pyongyang April 13. ©Maxim Tupikov/

Runners of the North Korean marathon will be crossing Pyongyang April 13.
©Maxim Tupikov/

(Relaxnews) – For the first time in its 27-year history, the world’s most hermetically sealed country will allow foreigners to hit the pavement in North Korea’s annual marathon race.

About 200 foreigners have signed up to run alongside likeminded North Korean runners April 13 at the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon in Pyongyang, reports Associated Press, where their 42.2 km route will take them past major landmarks like the Kim Il Sung Stadium, Friendship Tower, Arch of Triumph and Chongryon Suspension Bridge.

While elite runners have been invited to participate in years past, the 2014 edition has been opened to recreational runners of any nationality.

Previously, runners had to be able to complete a marathon in about 2h30m for men and women, making it unattainable for even the best recreational runners.

In addition to the marathon, the event includes a half-marathon race and 10km course.

Runners who fail to finish the marathon in four hours, however, will be escorted back to the stadium, reports the AP.

This year’s participants had to apply for visas through group tours.

Opening up the marathon to foreigners is the latest in a string of moves aimed at opening up the country to more tourists and their pocketbooks.

This winter, the country opened the proverbial doors to its Masik Pass Skiing Grounds, billed as a luxury ski resort.

It’s also been reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to turn the port city of Wonsan into a beach resort.


Share Button

Related posts

N. Korea building ‘world-class’ ski resortAsian Games: South Korean leader lets the Games beginNike launches NikeFree Flyknit exhibition at ArtRioTop autumn marathonsNew York to boast world’s biggest ice sports arenaBoston celebrates runners with Running Film FestivalNYC marathon runners still in the dark about next year’s planPost-Olympics London: state-of-the-art fitness centers, bike lanesEuro 2016 host cities: things to see and do in BordeauxGames: World Beach Games awarded to San DiegoWorld’s highest marathon returns to quake-hit EverestOlympics: Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome bid for 2024 GamesOlympics: Los Angeles enters 2024 Olympic raceOlympics: IOC ‘confident’ of strong new US bid after Boston quitsOlympics: Tokyo Games logos unveiled amid stadium rowFootball: UAE rubber-stamped as Asian Cup hostsJapan, China, S. Korea agree to boost tourism: reportsTokyo Olympic stadium ‘dull’, looks like turtle: architectAsian Games: Sports and participating countriesWingsuit daredevils risking their lives on film