Korea allows Americans to run in Pyongyang marathon in April

By 신용배
  • Published : Jan 8, 2014 - 15:47
  • Updated : Jan 8, 2014 - 15:47

    North Korea has said it will allow Americans and other foreigners to run in the Pyongyang marathon in April, a U.S. tour agency said Wednesday.

   Uri Tours, a U.S.-based agency that specializes in trips to North Korea, said that Americans and other nationalities, whether they are amateurs or professional runners, can run in the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon on April 14. Mangyongdae is the birthplace of the North's founder Kim Il-sung.

   "This is the first time that Americans are allowed to run as professionals in the marathon and also the first time that amateurs will be allowed to run in the marathon," the agency said on its website.

   It is not immediately clear how many Americans, if any, are willing to run in the Pyongyang marathon.

   The U.S. has no diplomatic relations with North Korea following the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

   North Korea started the Pyongyang marathon in 1981 to mark the 69th birthday of its founder, Kim Il-sung. Kim's April 15 birthday is one of the most important holidays in the communist country.

   Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, known for his eccentric behavior on and off the basketball court, and several other NBA old-timers, meanwhile, are in North Korea for a match against a collection of North Korean players on Wednesday, the birthday of leader Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be 31.  (Yonhap News)