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Amateur Aims for 100th Marathon Finish

Posted October. 26, 2005 07:33,   


Finishing the 42.195 kilometers of a marathon even once isn’t easy.

But one incredible marathoner, Cho Hyeon-hong (51), will run the Gyeongju Open Marathon for the 100th time on October 30.

Cho, a medical practitioner with his own clinic in Daegu already completed his 99th marathon at the 2005 Chuncheon Marathon on October 23. If he succeeds in finishing the Gyeongju Open Marathon, he will be the 20th amateur marathoner to finish a full-course marathon 100 times.

“I ran my first full-course in Gyeongju in March 1999, and it is my favorite course. I changed my schedule to be able to run my 100th course in Gyeongju,” Cho said.

Six years ago, he was just an ordinary doctor who enjoyed climbing and jogging from time to time.

“Back in 1998, I heard one of my school seniors, who is also a doctor, finished a full-course marathon. So I thought, ‘Why not me? Besides, I’m younger than him,’” Cho said.

He stands 5.5 feet tall and weighed 154lbs before he started running. Then, in about a year, he lost 22lbs. While he ran 70 kilometers five days a week, he became more and more attracted to the idea of running a marathon.

Running a full-course marathon 100 times in six years means that he has finished marathons almost every week during the spring and fall season. Is it bad for his health? Who would know better than himself, since he is a doctor?

During his attempts to finish a full-course marathon 99 times, he failed to finish four. “One’s physical condition is very important. If controlled well, running a full-course doesn’t affect one’s health. Also, before and after running, you must stretch your body,” he emphasized. His best finish time is 3:44:07, which he got in the 2001 Goseong Marathon. These days, his average record is around four hours and 10 minutes.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com