Translated by SoYeon Lee
137 Koreans runners out of 26,830 participants will join the 2011 Boston Marathon on April 18th. The number has slightly reduced from 2010 Marathon registrants of 152 people. However, aspects of the participants have become more diverse.
Many of the participants have a unique story to tell including a housewife who had crossed the desert, a husband who has prepared 2 years for the marathon to catch up with his wife who has qualified for the Boston Marathon, and athlete level of marathon runners who is receiving supports from organizations. But most of the runners have full of expectation, anticipation, and pride to participate in the oldest Boston Marathon. Hyun-Bun Hong, a housewife runs in a Korean traditional dress with Korean Flag
Hyun-Bun Hong (51 years, housewife), had crossed the desert and passed several times of near death experiences said she went through extremely tough time and that it would not have been forgiven if she did it because someone forced her to.
According to Mrs. Hong, the experience of carrying a week’s worth of food in 50 degree Celsius for and crossing the desert in a week almost always make a man or a woman burst in tears. Distance 250km, backpack weights minimum 15kg.
About crossing the desert that brings the danger of death including by sand storms, Mrs. Hong said “it is extremely tense and mind-boggling.”
Hong began running for a marathon in 2002 and has participated in 160 marathons in past 9 years.
After crossing the Sahara Desert and Gobi desert successfully in 2006 and 2007, Hong finished 2nd in four days of marathon that held in Korea. “After surviving in the desert, that was just a piece of cake” said Mrs. Hong.
Mrs. Hong who has participated in Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland in 2009 and New York Marathon in 2010 said she is “excited about the 2011 Boston Marathon.” She said she has heard that there are many hill courses, so she has been running up and down a hill. She is planning on running the marathon wearing the Korean tradition dress and the national flag.
Hong said, “marathon is like a life. When I run a course that seems like a long tunnel, I think about giving up a lot. There always comes a moment when taking a step feels heavier and heavier which makes taking another step impossible. When those moments come, one needs a strong side to tell oneself never to give up.”Succeeded in catching up his wife, Lee-Su Kim, Judicial Training Director
“We say it is humiliating”
Said Sun-Ja Jung (57 years) about her husband, Lee-Su Kim, a Judicial Training Institution Director, who took two more years to qualify for 2010 Boston Marathon than herself.
Director Kim’s couple said their relationship got stronger while preparing for the marathon. The couple, residing in Il-San, runs around Lake Park every day and is waiting eagerly for day in Boston.
“The Boston Marathon is a course that any Marathon runner would want to participate.” The couple said they are just honored to be part of the tradition. Through a phone, their momentum have felt with their consistent and delightful laughs.
Lake park is the best gift for this couple. Mrs. Jung was jogging in the Lake park and started the marathon in 2002, followed by her husband in 2004. Since Mrs. Jung’s record was always ahead of Mr. Kim, he made excuses such as “leg is asleep” or “running is not my thing” to give up. But when Mrs. Jung was qualified for 2008 Boston Marathon, Mr. Kim insisted his wife to “go ahead” and he continued to practice. Mr. Kim finally was qualified in 2010, and he improved his skills to lead him to pass his wife’ record. Mrs. Jung put it as “the human victory.”
Mr. Kim’s couple prepare 15-week planner for the Boston Marathon and practiced 4-5 times a week for an hour. They said their goal is to complete the race rather than achieving the record.
“for people who spend a lot of time sitting at their desks, marathon is the best exercise” said Director Kim who through 7 years of marathon obtained health, mental focus and stamina.
“The number of young judicial apprentices running around the Lake park dramatically increased” said Mr. Kim. He also said he is considering how to let people know that he is a Korean in the Boston Marathon.Athletic level record holder, Ho Kang
Ho Kang (48 years) during South Korea’s financial crisis was going through a tough time. He eyed his old shoes and ran around the neighborhood which gave him a chance to start running for Marathon.
Mr. Kang who holds a record of 2 hours and 33 minutes, 3 seconds, is called as a professional runner.
Mr. Kang, who is participating this event with the sole sponsor of Pyeong-Taek Marathon Organizers , has run for 2003 Marathon Des Sables and more than 200 other marathons. Last February, Mr. Kang was sent to and works in Russia. With busy schedule and poor condition, he said he had little winter training and his injury in last October has not gotten better.
With those reasons, he has a lot of worries before the Boston Marathon. “I should be cramming like a student before his exam…” said Mr. Kang. “Since Russia’s environment is less fit for the Speed and Tempo run training, I am just waiting for the approaching date without enough preparation” Mr. Kang confessed.
Mr. Kang said “Marathon makes one health and honest.” “It doesn’t have short cuts which one has to be honest to keep a promise that he made with himself.”
Also, "More than ever, while the marathon, I met many people." He said that running together with other people as they drench in sweat brought a friendship and said the marathon fits perfectly with the era of SNS( Social Networking Service).Participating 7 years in a row, that person
Gwi-Nam Park, who has been participating in the marathon for consecutive 7 years while living in Boston, has trained herself for 6 months.
“I ran 6 days a week for 2 hours” said Mrs. Park. “But I couldn’t practice regularly since there were a lot of snow this winter” said Mrs. Park as she expressed her regret.
Mrs. Park said she decided to run for a marathon as she turned 50. Initially, she was qualified as a volunteer. But since 3 years ago, her record was enough to qualify her for the marathon and it has already been 7 years since then. Mrs. Park said she wishes more young people would participate.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지