By HyunCheon Kim
Translated SeungYeon Woo
“It was hard to run starting from the 5mile. I completely lost my pace after that but I repeated walking and running to finish the marathon.”
On Monday, the day of the Boston Marathon, the temperature went above 85℉ (30℃). It was abnormally hot weather for April in Boston. Moreover, due to heat coming up from the hot asphalt ground, runners felt even hotter. Due to the unexpected heat wave, some runners dropped out in the middle of the race. Nevertheless, most of the 140 Korean runners patiently finished the full course.
On Monday evening after the race, the Korean runners gathered in the dining room at Sheraton Hotel in Needham, sharing their race experiences. Most were saying that this marathon was “the hardest but one of the unforgettable races.”They were proud of themselves for finishing the race with the Korean flag on their chest, they were thankful for the warm welcome of Boston citizens, and they were overwhelmed by the marathon’s culture of festivity that all citizens enjoyed. Even though the marathon was over, the runners could not hide their excitement over finishing the full race.
Kyung-ho Hong, who ran with the Korean flags on his front and back, said, “I was encouraged by peoplecheering and shouting out “Korea!” while I was running. After I finished the race, Iwas busy high-fiving with the cheerers.”
Sang-do Cheon, the first finisher among the Korean runners
Sang-do Cheon, who completed the race first among the Korean runners, said “I actually enjoyed the race.” He explored the course a day ahead and planned out his own strategy.
A former president of Gangwon-do Amateur Athletic Federation, he said, “I heard that the weather would be unusually hot so I decided to slow down my pace. There were many slopes but I’m very used to any kind of slopes because I live near Seorak Mountain.”
Even though he wiselycontrolled his pace, his record was 3hours 21miniutes, which is 20 minutes behind his usual record.
Cheon came to the Boston Marathon by saving money for 2 years with the other 10 members of Gangwon-do Inje Athletic Club.
“When we were preparing for the race, we started to practice 5 days a week, 3 months before the race. We even crossed over Han’gye-ryong,” said Cheon.
A couple with 30 years of marriage completed the race with their wedding officiary.
A day before the marathon was the 30th anniversary of a married couple, Geun-man Jang and Sun-ok Lee. They had a memorable race not just because they finished the race together but also because their wedding officiary, Jong-jin Cha, completed the race with them. Cha said, “The entire city was in a festive mood. I think this race will stay in my heart for a long time.”
Jang said, “I made a special remembrance of my life.”
Somerunners had a hard time.
While some runners enjoyed the race, there were many others who had a hard time running.
Soon-ok Kim, who has been running for 10 years, had struggles from the 5th km of the course, where she tripped and was injured. “I was bleeding profusely and I had to keep wiping off the blood. But I still walked and ran to finish the race,” said Kim. Because of hot weather, poor condition, and injury, Kim lost her stamina. She said, “It was the hardest marathon ever.”
Ki-rok Cha, who entered the marathon after receiving an incentive from the governor of Gyeonggi-do, had injured his ankle. He got a shot to strengthen the muscle before the marathon but he had a relapse while running the race. He was enduring pain; however, he was struggling again when he needed to go to the restroom after eating bread that he received from a cheerer. Because of this, it took more than 4 hours for him to complete the race but Cha was still proud of himself that he did not drop out.
Korean runners respected each other.
Korean runners came to Boston from different regions of South Korea, from the very southern end, Jeju Island, to the farthest northeasterncity, Inje, Gangwon-do. The runners came by themselves, as a couple, or as a team. They were all strangers to each other before the marathon; however, at the end of the race, they became one. They were not only proud of themselves but also proud of and respectful toward each other.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지