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No contact marathon was held in Seoul

Posted October. 26, 2020 07:58,   

Updated October. 26, 2020 07:58


Runners gathered around on a fall day to complete the first marathon to be held offline since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“2020 Seoul Marathon Untact Race,” which was held on Saturday and Sunday at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul, was unlike any previous race. The 2020 Seoul Marathon and the 91st Dong-A Marathon, one of the world’s six Platinum Label races, has been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus.

Most marathons around the world have taken place virtually through applications that track and log the runs of participants wherever they choose to run. However, the participants were able to rejoice at the Seoul Marathon with fellow runners.

The race was held in line with coronavirus restrictions. Only 800 people were allowed to participate, and all participants and staff members filled out medical forms. The contact between runners was limited with 10 groups of 80 people running in different time slots. It was a 10-kilometer race, and people in the same group were asked to run on different lanes. Only the first, fourth and seventh lanes were in use out of eight, ensuring safe distance between people. Six virtual races were organized before the actual event, and only those who have completed at least one race were given the chance to register.

It was met with a great response. “Running outside with other people brought back the thrill I felt when I participated in a marathon for the first time,” said Lee Yun-mi, 39. “It is a completely different experience from running alone in your area.” Kim Bo-eun said the experience has cemented her love for marathons. “I loved the fresh morning air and the sense of the achievement after completing the race,” she said. Lee also said she preferred the Seoul Marathon where she ran with her colleagues to the New York Marathon, which she participated virtually on October 17, speaking about the first in-person marathon to be held since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Ahn Cheol-soo, leader of the People Party, has also joined the race, drawing attention. “This race is meaningful in that it was held during the pandemic,” he said. “I hope more people will be able to run together next time.”

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com