Hundreds of foreign runners participated in Pyongyang's annual race

  • 6 years ago
North Korea has recently been using sport as an olive branch following its participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
And over the weekend, the North once again invited foreign runners to participate in its annual Pyongyang marathon.
Kim Ji-yeon reports.

Hundreds of overseas runners hit the streets in Pyongyang to participate in North Korea's annual race.
Around 430 foreign runners from 43 countries took part at this year's Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon held on Sunday,... named after the birthplace of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung.
The number of participating runners is less than half the number last year due to a U.S. travel ban on its citizens visiting North Korea and heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula.

"It's been good, it's the last two months we saw an increase in people, amateurs wanting to join the marathon, simply because the geopolitics before were so, you know, tense, that people weren't joining, but the last two months, with all the positive news, it's been busy."

Thirteen foreign professional runners from African countries competed in the race.
The course of the marathon encompasses the capital city's landmarks including the Kim Il-sung Stadium and Kim Il-sung Square.
The women's marathon was won by North Korean Kim Hye-gyong who came in at two hours 27 minutes and 24 seconds.
The winner of the men's marathon was North Korean Ri Kang-bom in two hours 12 minutes and 53 seconds.

"I'm glad that I was able to fulfill the expectations of the people."

For the first time, disabled athletes also took part in the race.

"I felt cold, it's just the wind-chill factor, but not only that, there's a lot of wind resistance as well. But just got to persevere, just got to persist on. And you know with all the people waiting at the stadium for me, waiting for us, I was really motivated, you know, to push towards the stadium."

The annual event has become a boost for North Korea's tourism industry ever since it started allowing foreigners to take part in 2014.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.