As many as 2,000 amateur and professional runners turned up on the day to test their limits and raise money for a good cause. Photo courtesy Jejusori
The 2nd Beautiful Jeju International Marathon, which took place on Saturday Sept. 27, saw some 2,000 runners take part in a joint effort to raise money for struggling families in Southeast Asia. Ko Hong-cheol, CEO of online newspaper Jejusori and organizer of the marathon, was on hand to explain the motivation behind the marathon. He explained that years ago Korea was not as economically fruitful as it is today but that it is now is in the position to give back. This year Jejusori, along with Tamna University/College and Beautiful Mart/Foundation, who hosted the race, will contribute more than 20 million won to homeless families in countries experiencing economic difficulties such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The marathon’s course began at Gimnyeong beach and followed Jongdal Coastal road, located on the Northeast side of the island. Ko commented that this marathon course is rare in the fact that so few marathons can offer a route with a seaside view, as well as mostly flat roads with minimal hills. The course is divided into four divisions. Participants could choose to run 5km, 10km, or take part in a half or full marathon. Each section was packed with people from all walks of life, with the average runner being in their mid-thirties.
However, only one person could cross the finish line first in each division. Surprisingly, three of the four winners belonged to the professional triathlon team TBB, which stands for The Bike Boutique. The Bike Boutique is a group of 12 Ironman World Championship qualifiers, all of whom have returned to Jeju for their second year of training. The group decided to run in the marathon before leaving to compete in the Ironman World Championship which takes place in Hawaii, on Oct. 10.
From left to right, Brazillian professional triathlete Reinaldo Colucci; South African marathoner James Cunnama, who took first place in the Men's half marathon; and CEO of Jejusori and marathon organiser Ko Hong-cheol. Photo by Kim Gyong-ho
Finishing the full marathon with a time of 2:37:44 was Reinaldo Colucci, 23, a professional triathlon competitor from Brazil, and member of TTB. Colucci, who has been competing in triathlons since he was 13, was able to set his first marathon personal record at Saturday’s run.
James Cunnama, 26, from South Africa, won first place in the men’s half marathon, finishing at 1:16:16. Cunnama said he was very happy on Jeju and finds the atmosphere similar to Hawaii in that it is a volcanic island with a temperate climate. Bella Bayliss took home first place in the women’s half marathon, with a running time of 1:20:00. Bayliss, 31, a Scottish athlete, has been competing in triathlons for the past 15 years.
The Bike Boutique’s wins did not count as official wins because they maintain a professional status. The amateur runners who qualified for the cash prize of 500,000 won included: Men’s Full Marathon winner: Han Dong-seop, 43, from Seogwipo Marathon Club, with a time of 2:46:29, and Women’s Full Marathon winner Oh Hye-shin, 42, also from Seogwipo Marathon Club, with a time of 3:24:53.
The weather was blissful for the race. The temperature ranged in the 20s with light winds to cool the runners and refreshing spurts of rain. Ko said despite the H1N1 flu scare, the marathon was able to proceed as planned and with more participants than last year. He added that the number of full and half marathon runners also increased. Olympic silver medalist, Lee Bong-ju, who won his award in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and last year competed in the Beijing Olympics, was also present. He donated a training outfit complete with shirt, hat and shoes to sell at auction to raise further funds for charity.
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