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Building on the Dreams of a Marathon Pacer.

Posted October. 23, 2007 07:29,   


"That runner really stands out from the rest... Who could he be?"

Those who witnessed the early stages of the Gyeongju International Marathon, on October 21, were likely to have been glued to their television sets in awe. Following the sounding of the starter’s gun, a local runner ran toe-to-toe with some of the best marathon runners from around the world with peak times around just 6 to 8 minutes over the two hour barrier. This intriguing local participant, in fact, led the pack through the first 16km before eventually pulling out at the 20km mark.

Leading the Men`s competition in such an awe-inspiring manner was Konkuk University sophomore, Seo Haeng-jun (20), who has yet to complete a full marathon. He has actually been prohibited from doing so until his junior year by his college trainer, Hwang Gyu-hun.

"In all honesty, I wanted to keep going to the finish-line, but my pacer role forced me to refrain from doing so," Seo explained in a post-race interview.

Standing 165cm tall and weighing in at 48kg, Seo entered Konkuk University as a non-athlete.

His initial stint on the track was in the 800-meter event while attending Baemoon High School, but he soon changed his focus to longer distance races and earned his first race victory in the 1500-meters at a nationals meet. As a collegiate runner, he won the 10,000-meters at the 2006 National Sports Games and was also victorious in a half-marathon this year, solidifying his rising-star status.

"I went to Kenya to train in summer. My conditioning was adequate going into the nationals, but it was even better coming into this event."

At an age prone to endless distraction, Seo doesn’t even carry a cellular phone. With regard to this peculiarity, he explains: "Concentrating on running eliminates the need for phone-conversations. This coming winter, I want to concentrate on preparing for next year`s full-length marathon."

Already said to be under way is Seo`s training for the Daegu World Track and Field Championships in 2011.