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“I Want to Run at the Head of the Marathon Exchange Between Korea and Japan”

“I Want to Run at the Head of the Marathon Exchange Between Korea and Japan”

Posted July. 26, 2005 03:08,   


“It seems that people enjoying marathon running as a hobby in both Korea and Japan have increased in the past few years. I wish to be the bridge in a marathon exchange, bringing Korea and Japan closer to each other through the marathon.”

Kim Cheol-eon (age 41), a third generation Korean-Japanese and head of the training committee for the women’s long distance marathon in the Japan Association of Athletics Federation (JAAF), said, “I am currently working in the Japanese field, but if I get the chance, I wish to train the prospects of Korea and benefit in speeding up Korean marathon times.”

After graduating from Waseda University, Kim joined the Recruit Athletics team and was a runner until age 28. After being coach of the women’s team of Recruit, Kim is now currently the head of the training committee at JAAF as of April. Kim’s place of origin is Gimhae, and she has kept her Korean nationality even during her years as a runner.

The head of the training committee is the position responsible for selecting national runners and setting the training schedule. It is very rare for a foreigner to take the position of an executive in a sports organization in the Japanese athletics field.

“I took sixth place at the Dong-A Marathon, which was the try-out for the national team going to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but it was my best record and I still remember the moment.” Kim’s record was 2:11.48 at the Dong-A Marathon, which was held at Chuncheon at that time.

Kim said, “In the mid-late 1990s, when Hwang Young-cho, Kim Wan-ki and Lee Bong-ju were starring, Korea was ahead of Japan in marathon running, but Korea now seems to be slipping behind,” and advised, “A strong group of runners and a competent coach are necessary in order to become a leading marathon country.”

“It is amazing that over 20,000 are running in the masters division of the Seoul International Marathon held by Dong-A Ilbo,” said Kim, who showed great interest in the limit time, payment and management of the competition. Kim added, “I still jog 10 kilometers three to four days a week. I wish to enter the Dong-A Marathon master’s race next year and check my capability.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com