My first 10km in Korea

Since I’ve been running home most afternoons after work, I started toying with the idea to run a 10 km here in Korea. Most of my colleagues also knew I run between 4km and 7km home on these days and that I like running. Thus, one Friday night while we were out for one of our staff dinners, our administrative officer (a very keen runner) brought it under my attention that our city will host a 5km, 10km and 26km on the first weekend in November. Of course I immediately agreed to do the 10km and before long and a couple of Soju shots and beer later, everybody else at my school agreed to join too.

The NEC Staff before thestart of the race.

The NEC Staff before the start of the race.

All of us signed up to do either the 5km or 10km for the annual Chungju Apple Marathon. (Yes, the farthest distance was only 26km and not near the length of an actual marathon of 42.196km or , but let’s leave it there). Sunny, one of my Korean teachers, took charge of registering all of us (and more friends who wanted to join) and organized to get us all the same shirts to run in. Fun!

The last time I ran a 10km was in October 2012 when I ran in the Nike We Run Jozi race through Sandton and Alexandria. Without a lot of training I finished in a time of 1:11:something. So, for this race I set a goal to finish within an hour and trained accordingly. Race day was last Saturday and the weather was perfect for a 10km. Well, for me it was. The sun was out, but it was a bit chilly. Yes please! The route was all on the road and pretty flat without any challenges. The three categories started with five minute intervals and everybody set off on the same route. The only problem was that the route was “there and back”-type route, which meant that the 10km runners had to basically maneuver their way through the 5km walkers on the way back. Other than that, it was a pretty well organized race.

Just before the finish line.

Just before the finish line.

I’m glad to say that I finished the race in 55:05 (a new personal best) and that I felt really good afterwards. Winter is basically around the corner, which means I won’t be running that often anymore, but you can believe me when I say that this was the first of many 10km in Korea.

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