Go to contents

“I am very happy to be able to participate in the Marathon”

“I am very happy to be able to participate in the Marathon”

Posted February. 16, 2007 07:21,   


The mayor of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon (46), is a sports buff. He loves all kinds of sports including marathon, tennis, and swimming. He says “When it comes to sports, moderation is very important, as excessive exercise can be harmful to your body. In this regard, a marathon is similar to life.” On this March 18, he will participate in the 2007 Seoul International Marathon, AKA Dong-A Marathon, as a “Love Messenger.” The marathon will be a charity event in which a vast selection of celebrities and VIPs will take part. On February 15, we interviewed him in his office. He said, “I attended the Marathon six years ago. Back then I ran half of the course (21.0975km) in 2.5 hours. I am very happy to be able to participate once again.” He told us that he would make Seoul a sporting Mecca by building a dome stadium in which international sporting events could be held.

○ Running and sharing love

Since he had little time to train for the event due to his busy schedule, he will only be running 5-6km. He does, however, plan to complete the full course next year. “I am happy to be a part of this fine event that is designed to help needy people. I would like to make the Seoul International Marathon a fund raising event for charity, similar to the Boston Marathon. I hope the Seoul International Marathon, which will become a charity event, starting this year, can serve as a turning point where people start sharing their love and making donations. The Seoul city government will actively support sporting events of this nature,” he said.

○ Getting in shape through exercise

Former German foreign minister, Joseph Martin Fischer, once said “I am running for the sake of me. For me, running is a kind of meditation. This is the only reason why I am running.” Mr. Oh (5.9 feet, 171 lbs), in his younger years, ran to strengthen his body. He was a weakling when he was young. He said “I enjoy many sports including tennis, basketball and swimming, but I enjoy running because it allows me time to reflect on my life.” As his body grew stronger, he started competing in triathlons. In the 2004 Seorak International Triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run) he finished in 3 hours 25 minutes 14 seconds. As being mayor of the capital is a tough job, he is always busy. Even so, finds time to work out on a regular basis. At the end of a tiring day, he runs on a treadmill for 30 to 60 minutes and goes hiking on weekends.

○ Promoting the event internationally as “environmental marathon”

Mr. Oh is planning to promote the event, to be held at the heart of Seoul, as an environmental marathon. The restoration of Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye Stream) gave the city better air quality and more green space, but the mayor wants more. He hopes to reduce the levels of fine particles by increasing the number of environmentally-friendly cars. “Air quality is not good enough for citizens to run along the roads. By 2010, I will improve air quality to the point where citizens can enjoy running in the center of the city,” he said.

○ Building a dome stadium that represents Seoul

He is pushing for the building a dome stadium that will become an icon in Seoul. He said “Seoul needs it. I will have the blueprint for a dome stadium ready by 2010.” It is said that the land, on which a ballpark will be built, to replace Dongdaemun Stadium – scheduled to be demolished in the coming December – will be decided upon soon. A ballpark for baseball fans will be built either on riverside park, along the Han river, or on another piece of unused land. Through the marketing of events such as the Seoul International Marathon, we will actively promote Seoul to the world. A series of events will be held in Seoul: the international women squash in Seoul Square in April, international tight-roping across the Han River and international beach volleyball in May. Seoul city is also pushing for an international triathlon in 2008 and a Han River swimming marathon in 2009. Eight months have already passed since Mr. Oh became the mayor of Seoul. “What is the difference between marathons and politics?” we asked the lawmaker turned mayor. He replied “The two require patience. However, we don’t look around when we run but politicians should be constantly looking around in order to take care of others.”