North Korea and sports have been much in the news of late, and now comes word that for the first time non-elite runners will be able to participate in the Pyongyang Marathon. The South China Morning Post reports the North Korean regime is especially interested in Hong Kong runners, although the interest doesn’t seem to be mutual.
“I’ve competed in many overseas distance races and like to stay on for a day or two after the race to explore and enjoy the local culture,” said runner Rachel Sproston. “I am not sure how much fun this would be with the current limitations on tourists in Pyongyang.”
No word on whether North Korea is considering a Panmunjom 100 yard dash…
…or an ultra along the DMZ.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a rash of marathon cheating in China. Organizers of the Xiamen Marathon disqualified a bunch of finishers for various types of subterfuge. One set of three runners passed along a bib number and timing chip at various spots along the route, running the marathon as a relay. Another pair of runners had the same idea, but carried along with them a second chip, which belonged to a runner who never started the race. Another runner was the capitalist of the group, simply hiring a professional runner to complete the marathon for him in 2:27. This is evidently a common practice in China.
I don’t condone cheating, but if those relay guys had all worn Spiderman or rhino costumes the race organizers wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart from the photo evidence and they might have gotten away with it. Twins could probably do it as well. (Jedward, where are you?)
Being a working stiff in North Korea is tough in the best of times, but this was a particularly bad week for those of all job titles who toil in the name of the Supreme Commander.
On the plus side, the old dude in the video seems to be rocking it. He’s probably retired.