Pyongyang hosts 29th Mangyongdae Prize Int'l Marathon

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 10, 2016
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The 29th Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon took place Sunday here in Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), with more than 1,000 foreigners and around 800 local runners taking part.

This year's marathon features three categories: the full course, the half course and a 10-kilometer recreation run. But the limit for the full course remains the same as last year, which is four hours, and half marathon runners need to finish in three hours.

The starting and finishing point this year was temporarily changed to the Mayday Stadium on Rungnado Island because Kim Il Sung Stadium where last year's event started was under renovation. But the route remains similar to that last year, with four circles running through the Taedong River and each around 10,000 meters.

Supplement stations were set up each 5,000 meters to provide water and bananas. There were no strict regulations banning the use of certain electronic devices. Foreign runners were seen taking selfies and photos of Pyongyang's spring scenery, and even some used GoPro versatile camera to record some of the wonderful moments.

The marathon, which was named after Mangyongdae, the birthplace of late supreme leader Kim Il Sung, was part of a spate of celebrating events to mark the Day of Sun on April 15, the birthday anniversary of Kim Il Sung.

The marathon not only is a good chance to experience the fun of running, but offers an opportunity for overseas tourists to have a sort of close contact with local residents in the DPRK. Pyongyang citizens lined on the two sides of the street to give applaud to the participants, encouraging them to carry on and not fall by the wayside. Foreign amateurs at times would give them a high-five and local folks were glad to respond.

The Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon used to be designated by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) as a bronze-label road race until 2014 when the fears of the Ebola epidemic forced Pyongyang to scale down the race, which made it no longer an IAAF-accredited event.

Pyongyang marathon was first held as early as 1981. Since 2014 when the Pyongyang marathon started to accept registration from foreign amateurs, this event has attracted a large number of foreign running-lovers from across the world.

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