Cheorwon / living

Cheorwon DMZ Peace Marathon

About to begin!

About to begin!

Sunday was a fun day. Matt and I ran in the 10K of the Cheorwon DMZ Peace Marathon. The race was near our town and so many of our students volunteered at the event.

We had been running three or four days a week, but we had no idea of the distances we were running, and I felt unprepared for the race. However, I’m happy to report that it went great and I shouldn’t have worried. I finished in 57:33, and Matt came in at 55:30.

Our day:Our neighbor Ssu drove us to the race at 7:30 a.m. After finding the foreigner check-in area, we received our bibs and our participant gifts of 3-kilogram bags of Cheorwon rice, the best rice in Korea.

There were plenty of runners milling around and we got to see the “Korean group stretching” I had heard about, where people on stage lead stretching. After the stretching, a group of pretty women performed on stage, which quickly grabbed the attention of all the soldiers who were competing in the race. It was funny to see them move quickly toward the stage and get out their camera phones.

Beginning the race, along the rice paddies.

Beginning the race, along the rice paddies.

The actual race went pretty well. Some of the thoughts I entertained along the way:

“Wow, there are a lot of soldiers running this race. That’s great. I wonder if they are all from this area or if they traveled for the race. … Oh, are those soldiers WALKING already? We aren’t even 2K into the course! That’s crazy…”

“Oh there’s the 3K sign! That means I’m almost one-third done. Yay! That means I’ve gone how many miles? Well … If 5K is 3.1 miles then that means … 3K would be … Oh look. It’s my students! ‘Hi!’ Wow, they looked confused. Why did it take them so long to recognize me? I don’t get why they are so shocked to see me outside of school…”

“I should practice Korean right now. Yes, I will read the Hangul on the backs of everyone’s shirts. Lee Min Suk. Jeong Ho Jung. Look at that, I’m exercising my body and my mind.”

“Hey, I see Matt! He isn’t too far ahead. Should I try to catch up to him? Yes, I will try to catch up to him. Speed up. Speed up. Water! I see water! Nevermind. I don’t need to see Matt. I want water. Oh, it’s my students handing out the water! ‘Hi MinJe.’ Haha. He looked surprised. But he was probably happy I knew his name. I don’t know too many names. I should try to learn more names. … Ok just keep running.”

“Here’s the bridge. That means I’ve gone 6.5K. So 3.5K to go. That’s … Um. What did I say before? 1K is how much? Well. … Not too far left anyways. I can do this. Hey, who are those people waving at? Oh! It’s my students! They are cheering for me! Wow. They recognized me from really far away. They said good job to me. Well I can’t disappoint them. I’d better push on. Yes, that’s an energy boost!”

“Oh, why did I just have that last water stop. I felt good and now I feel worse. Next time, no water Alli! Just keep running. Just keep running. You are almost finished! Yes! The 1K to go sign. I can do this. That’s less than 1 mile. Why are so many people walking? There’s only 1K to go people! Keep going. Oh, walking actually sounds kind of nice right now. I’d like to join them. … Maybe just for a second. … No! You cannot walk. The faster you run, the sooner you can stop. Now go!”

Since Matt was waiting for me at the finish, I’ll let my rambling thoughts stop there. Matt later told me that the students cheering him on gave him a boost, as well. The rest of the day’s story can be told through pictures.

Yay! We got medals :)

Yay! We got medals 🙂

Not expecting a school van full of children to pick us up.

Not expecting a school van full of children to pick us up from the race. There’s always a surprise when Ssu is involved.

Matt and Julie, who our neighbor is dog sitting.

Matt and Julie, who our neighbor is dog sitting.

Three kg bags of rice and a box of energy drinks for all the race participants.

Three kg bags of rice and a box of energy drinks for all the race participants.

Matt after sneaking into a haunted house. (He used his iPhone to light the way.)

Matt after sneaking into a haunted house. (He used his iPhone to light the way.)

The biggest rice pot I've ever seen.

The biggest rice pot I’ve ever seen. Race participants got bibimbap and soup after the race, along with goodie bags. And all that for less than a $20 entry fee!

Me with a soldier.

Me with a soldier.

Soldiers were on hand to show off some military equipment and photos from the DMZ.

Soldiers were on hand to show off some military equipment and photos from the DMZ.

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10 thoughts on “Cheorwon DMZ Peace Marathon

    • Yes, Ssu was driving the van of kids! On the phone he was telling us “hurry, kids need to eat.” And we were thinking what kids is he talking about?? He is the basketball coach and it turns out that he had an all-day practice with them. So they picked us up and then we all went out to eat (again).

  1. That’s so cool that they were cheering you guys on! This is a great piece of writing, taking us through your thought process….you’re quite good at recalling those thoughts and getting them through in this post. Nice job to both of you on those times!!!!

    • Thanks Jason! I’m sure the times aren’t so great to real runners, but we were pleased 🙂 Especially since we hadn’t been timing any of our runs. We saw a teacher Matt knew before the race and he asked us what time we were hoping to finish in. We were like, “ummm… uh?” haha

  2. Did they have a place to store your stuff? We are riding a bus in from Seoul and have no idea where to put our rice and stuff. I was thinking of running with my go pro so I can get pictures of the area at the same time as the run. If you have any suggestions or tips for us that would really help. We are flying in from American a few days before and running with some family that is in the Army.

    • Hi Nelle,
      Yes, there was a place to store your stuff. They gave you a bag to put everything in and then a ticket. When you come back at the end of the race, you give them your ticket, and they give you the bag back. Good luck, and have fun!

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