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Lee Bong-ju Has Sights Set on 2008 Dong-A Marathon

Posted December. 21, 2007 11:30,   


“I am still in perfect condition. Please don’t call me an old marathoner.”

“The Nation’s Marathoner” Lee Bong-ju (37, Samsung Electronics) wore a face full of confidence and composure yesterday. In his usual manner, instead of pledging victory, he said, “If I maintain my condition and run with other good marathoners, it is possible for me to renew my Korean record (2 hours 7 minutes 20 seconds set in 2000).”

I visited Lee’s Jeju Island training camp where he was training for the 2008 Seoul International Marathon/79th Dong-A Marathon scheduled for March 16, 2008.

Weight training twice a week, circuit training twice a week, running up hills once a week, 45km running once a week, and 90 minute cross-country runs are all part of Lee Bong-ju’s weekly training schedule. The amount of body strength training has substantially increased compared to his previous training regimens. In addition, Lee now does twice as much weight and circuit training than before.

Running up a hill involves 20 sprints up a 500m hill to strengthen his leg muscles, and the 45km run is for endurance training.

Oh In-hwan, coach of Samsung Electronics, said, “Lee is an experienced marathoner. But he is not in a favorable condition to compete with young marathoners in terms of physical strength and recuperative power. So we are focusing on raising his overall physical strength.” This training program is what was behind his victory in the 2007 Seoul International Marathon/78th Dong-A marathon where, for the third time, he set a record of 2 hours 8 minutes 4 seconds.

“Running a race is not yet beyond my strength. I just need more training time. As you know, apart from myself, there are many marathoners in their mid-thirties who win world races,” Lee said.

Lee is encouraged by the veteran marathoners’ recent excellent performances, including that of 34-year-old Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), who set a world record of 2 hours 4 minutes 26 seconds in the 2007 Berlin Marathon.

Lee will move his training camp to Goseong, South Gyeonggi Province, in mid-January next year where he will train for long-range race speed (mainly 10km and 15km). He will then go to Japan at the beginning of February to finalize his training by taking part in several short marathon races (half and 10 km).

After the 2008 Seoul International Marathon, Lee Bong-ju will start his training for the Beijing Olympic Games.