WATCH: Pyongyang Marathon wants amateur foreign runners to race next year
The North Korean marathon has been officially recognized by an association of international distance races and has opened up registration to foreigners for next year’s race.
Organizers of the Pyongyang Marathon, also known as the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, announced that the race has been officially certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races which counts around 400 members from 90 countries.
The certification confirms that the Pyongyang Marathon meets international marathon standards. That also means performances at the North Korean race can be used to qualify for the world’s biggest marathons including the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon.
The 2019 edition will mark the race’s 30th anniversary. Runners will start and finish inside the Kim Il sung Stadium, in front of an audience of 50,000 spectators. Foreign participants must sign up with a recognized tour group like Koryo Tours, the official race partner.
This year’s event saw 429 foreign amateur runners hit the streets of Pyongyang, a sharp fall from 1,000 participants the previous year, notes Yonhap News.
In 2016, while on a tour, American college student Otto Warmbier was arrested in North Korea for attempted theft and was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. During his imprisonment, he fell into a coma and was repatriated to the United States but died in June 2017.
Tensions in the build-up to denuclearization talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea and the U.S. have also made it a particular hotspot this year.
The 2019 Pyongyang Marathon takes place April 7, 2019. Running tours organized by Koryo depart from Beijing, Shanghai and Dandong. JB
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