Big numbers, lakeside course (about: 2009)|
J. L. from Sydney, Australia (10/31/09)
4-5 previous marathons
| 1 Chunchon Int'l Marathon
Pre-race: registration was a bit fiddly because you could only pay if you had a Korean credit card; otherwise you had to do an international bank transfer. Communication with the organizers was very good though, and they answered all of my questions since the info on the website in English was a bit patchy at times.
The race itself was well organized, with staggered wave starts inside the stadium for the 20,000 registered runners, the vast majority being Korean male masters runners. They played Chariots of Fire with the start of each wave - very exciting! They had two to three pacers per wave with huge balloons, so they were easy to spot, but I think they were running to gun time or something, because (for example) the four-hour pacer was running about half a minute per kilometer faster than he was supposed to be.
The loop course follows a big lake, so it's mostly flat, although with a 1 KM gradual climb at the 40 KM mark. The first 23 KM or so are quite pretty, with views of forests with the leaves are changing color for autumn, but the rest of the way goes through the city, which is less inspiring - and you have to share the road with traffic.
There were some bands, dancers and drummers along the course, but there weren't many spectators, and lots of them were running clubs who were only looking out for their members.
There were drink/snack stations every 5 KM, and sponge stations halfway between the drink stations. There was plenty of water, Gatorade and snacks including choco-marshmallow-biscuit pies, gels, bananas and cherry tomatoes; but given that the race started at 10 a.m., it was pretty hot and I was driven to trying to drink from the sponges. I don't remember seeing any porta-loos along the course, so guys were peeing everywhere. They do, however, have medics on rollerblades with all sorts of anti-cramping spray, and there was a big casualty tent at around 35 KM where people were getting physios to tape up their legs.
The finish is inside the stadium, which was fantastic. Overall, it was a fun day and a great way to see the area, and you get a lot for the super cheap registration fee (about AUD $40) - a quality, Asics, long-sleeved, warm top instead of a cotton finisher's shirt.