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Seoul Marathon opens successfully amid return to normal

Posted November. 29, 2021 07:23,   

Updated November. 29, 2021 07:23


Even with the temperature two degrees below zero on a late autumn day, runners were fully ready to fire up their passion around the starting line set up next to Olympic Park World Peace Gate. Wearing even a vinyl raincoat, participants warmed up for the 42.195-kilometer-long race.

With a starter pistol fired at 8 a.m., elite and master runners began rushing toward the finishing line at Jamsil Students' Gymnasium. As the winds gradually died down with the temperature going up to five degrees, runners seemingly found it easy to speed up.

The 91st Dong-A Seoul International Marathon returned on Sunday in two years and eight months since March 2019. Awarded a World Athletics Heritage Plaque for the first time in Asia last May, the competition was upgraded to the Platinum Label in November of the same year. While marathon events were cancelled in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic over the previous two years, the Dong-A Seoul International Marathon made the first start in South Korea by selecting only a partial number of applicants by lot with the nation returning to normal.

Park Min-ho, 22, won the race in the men’s elite division while Choi Jung-yoon, 28, Hwaseong City Hall, ranking 1st in the women’s. Park said that he often ran behind his seniors in the previous races, attributing his good record to this competition. “I hope to become one of the top three runners in the 2022 Asian Games Hangzhou so that I can help revitalize the South Korean marathon field,” Park said.

Quarantine had top priority with many efforts arranged carefully beforehand. Fully vaccinated, participants were required to submit a PCR test report proving that they test negative within 48 hours of the start. Right before embarking on a race, they were supposed to have their temperatures taken and pass an automated sprinkling system for sanitization at the starting Iine. International elite runners joined the competition in Kenya – one of the most popular training spots in the world among marathon runners, a dual system that was first introduced domestically as part of efforts to help prevent the competition from being too crowded.  

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com