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Next-Generation Marathoners

Posted March. 14, 2008 03:05,   


Many marathoners say jokingly, “No one knows until they smell gunpowder.” What they say is that nobody can predict the result of new marathon runners going for their first full-course running until they start to run at a gun shot.

Who will be Korea’s next generation marathoners? In the 2008 Seoul International Marathon and Dong-A Marathon, Seo Haeng-jun (21), training at Konkuk University, is drawing our attention. He was a pacemaker in the leading group until the 20km point in the 2007 Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon.

This is his first full-course running, as his coach Hwang Gyu-hun bans his trainees from running a full course, fearing putting too much pressure on their still growing body, until their sophomore year. Seo, who wanted to run a full-course so badly, is keen on good performance at this year’s competition.

Seo, at 165 cm tall and 48 kg, was a top 1,500m and 10,000m runner in Korea when attending Jeonnam Physical Education Middle School and Baemoon High School. He showed his potential as a long-distance runner by winning a half marathon in the 88th National Sports Festival. Last summer, he trained in the hilly areas of Kenya in preparation of a full-course marathon. Coach Hwang said, “He prepared well for this competition, and his goal is to record two hours and 11 minutes. He, himself, is very confidant, too.”

Although Eom Hyo-seok (24, Samsung Electronics) who is called “Hwang Yeong-jo Junior,” showed a disappointing performance last year, he will challenge his highest record of two hours, 18 minutes, 27 seconds in this competition.

Lee Myeong-seung (29, Samsung Electronics) and Kim Yeong-chun (25, Seoul City Hall), who were the second and third runners among Korean competitors last year, are also drawing much attention. Lee’s record was two hours, 14 minutes, 48 seconds, although his training circumstances, compared to other runners, were not favorable. Kim made his best record, two hours, 15 minutes, 55 seconds last year.

Among female players, Chae Eun-hee (26, Korea Water Resources Corporation), who has come back from her two-year break, is worth noticing. She made a successful comeback last year by recording two hours, 32 minutes, 1 second. She finished first among Korean runners. Choi Gyeong-hee (27, Gyeonggi Provincial Office), whose best record is two hours, 30 minutes, 19 seconds, is also aiming to break the barrier of two hours and 29 minutes.