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Korean Marathon Queen Runs Again

Posted September. 21, 2005 07:22,   


Korean marathon queen Kwon Eun-ju (28), who was at the crossroads of retirement, has decided to keep running.

Kwon Eun-ju finished with a time of 2:26:12 in the 1997 Chosun Ilbo Chunchon Marathon, setting a record. She was the first to break the wall of 2:30:00 and was referred to as a marathon Cinderella.

After that, however, she suffered a series of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture of her ankle, and a pelvic fracture, all caused by intensive training under the late coach Jeong Bong-su. Finally, last year she was shut out of the world of elite marathon runners for a while, finishing with no discernable records.

Her physical condition was so bad that she was only able to complete five marathon courses in 10 years. She was seriously considering retirement. But, Kwon visited Pyeongchang-gun of Gangwon Province in June and started running again.

“After a year-long break, those injuries that had never left me were all gone. Now that I feel my body going back to what it was like before, I couldn’t resist the urge to run again,” said Kwon.

She is not fully recovered yet, so she is concentrating on basic training, such as slowly running 20 to 30 kilometers a day to regain her sense for marathon running, and weight training to rebuild her shape and develop more power.

“I emptied my mind. I haven’t set any detailed targets yet, but now I’m thinking about starting a systematic training regimen in the coming winter so I can prepare for events that could help me grow my speed, such as the half marathon next March, and 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races. Later when I am recovered enough, I will run in a full-course marathon,” said Kwon.

Kwon Eun-ju, who left the Samsung Electronics team last year, now runs for Jeju City.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com