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Korean Marathon Man Is Philanthropist at Heart

Posted March. 12, 2007 07:18,   


He enjoys marathon running. However, he runs full marathons only twice every year. He believes that if he puts too much emphasis on participating in competitions, he will not be able to enjoy running. He also feels that helping people he introduced to marathon running is his duty; therefore he does not focus much on his own records.

Professor Moon Song-chun (55) of the Graduate School of Management at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is an all-around sportsman. He is a judo black belt holder, and has surpassed the amateur level in soccer and tennis. However, he praises marathon running as a sport that is incomparable to others. He gives his reason by saying that, “It is the only sport that allows you to feel a miracle within yourself.”

16 full-course marathons-

Professor Moon feels guilty when he thinks of those who don’t know the joy of marathon running. When he thinks of sick people or the disabled, he feels even guiltier. So whenever he participates in marathon events, he pledges 10 won for every meter he runs for a total of 421,950 won. He asks people around him to pledge donations as well.

Since his first full marathon in 1999, and during all of his 16 full course marathons, his pledge of 10 won for every meter continued. At the 2000 Dong-A Marathon, of the 8.5 million won in donations, five million was collected by Professor Moon.

“I would like to put the idea of noblesse oblige into practice through the marathon”–

“In large events like the London Marathon, astonishing amounts of donations pour in. Pledging one won per meter is great, but people that are better off should pledge 10 won per meter.”

Professor Moon, who has been volunteering in an “overseas expertise sharing” program since 1991 during his vacations, says his marathon goal is not participating in famous international competitions or becoming a sub three-hour marathoner (someone who completes a marathon full course in less than three hours). His dream is to achieve “noblesse oblige” through the marathon.

“Dong-a Ilbo should make aggressive efforts to move people’s minds. Invite celebrities and take donations. Changing the society through marathon running is fully achievable.”