This morning I completed my first ever officical 10 kilometer race! Based on the name of the event, the purpose of the run was to raise awareness of some sort for human rights issues…but since all the literature and speeches were in Korean I have no clue beyond that. The point is, I did it!
The whole thing was organized really well. From tents where you could check your bags or extra layers, to well-marked signs and people telling you which way to go, to plenty of water stands along the way, they thought of everything and more, just like I would expect from a race back home. Best of all, though, was the jazzercise/group stretching session that we had before the start, which consisted of everyone grapevining, clapping and lunging all in perfect Korean unison (apparently this is a standard part of any race day in the country!).
During the race I enjoyed a a flat course along the river, occasionally winding through a bamboo forest. Race officials and random passersby alike cheered me on, saying, “Why-ting!” (the equivalent to “Let’s go!” “Good job!” or “You can do it!”). The cool fall temperatures made for perfect running conditions as well! My official time was 41 minutes and 38 seconds, which isn’t too shabby. Roughly 6:45/mile pace!
After the race I collected my finisher’s goodie bag, which contained a few snacks and a nice medal. Then I waited for my friend, Jang, to finish the half marathon course. Presently, I am freshly showered and sitting on my bed, where I plan to stay for the rest of the day!
To find out about other races going on throughout Korea, check out the list on this site. There seems to be at least one race going on every weekend, so there’s no shortage of options! Registration for today’s race cost me only $30, and that included a cool light-weight long-sleeve running shirt, my bib and the finisher’s goodie bag (though I did have to ask my co-teacher to help me navigate the race’s website, as there was no English option).
Next on the list is a half marathon of some kind, maybe the race in Yangsan (about 40 minutes from Ulsan) in early December. Why-ting!