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Club Redefines Korean Marathon Scene

Posted January. 14, 2006 03:00,   


The 2006 Seoul International Marathon also known as 77th Donga Marathon will be a meaningful race, as many marathon clubs have volunteered to run to benefit the needy such as pediatric cancer patients and needy children.

The biggest marathon club in the nation, Runners Club (cafe.daum.net/runners), is leading the way. Nam Yeong-pyo (47), the president of the club, said, “If you have been running for yourself until now, maybe it’s time to run for someone else. We are planning on events that are enjoyable and also charitable at the same time.

The Runners Club features the motto: “Run for the warmth in your heart,” and plan to organize a benefit race. The Seoul International Marathon will be their start. The Runners Club is also planning a charity run where you run one meter and donate one won for charity. They also plan to throw a festival for the disabled in March.

The Runners Club has about 26,000 members. About 2,000 of them will run in the Seoul International Marathon. Its members come from wide variety of backgrounds, including office workers, businessmen, lawyers, and doctors. The social spectrum of its members further helps the club carry its message to the public. They lead the nation’s marathon culture with their Saturday run gatherings at Hangang Dunchi Park, as well as small running gatherings on weekdays.

The Runners Club started as an online club and grew into the nation’s leader of marathon culture. It was credited with changing the view on marathon running from the traditional “struggle against one’s limits” to a sport that is enjoyable like any other.

The 2003 Seoul International Marathon will feature roadside gallery members wearing superhero costumes as an effort to turn marathon into a festival.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com