What I love most about Teaching English and living in South Korea, is that there is always some sort of festival going on. Whether its body painting, a lantern festival or a mask festival, South Korea is packed with fun and interesting things to see and do. This season happens to be marathon season, with many marathons happening up and down the country; from Seoul to Daegu and Busan just to name a few!
(Cheering at the Finish line for my co-worker & friends)
Last Sunday, in Daegu, South Korea, where I teach English, the city hosted an international Marathon, with runners coming from all over the world. What made it even more exciting is one of my co-workers decided to run part of it. The Marathon was broken into different distances, 5k, 10k half marathon and of course, the full marathon. My co-worker ran the 10k.
(At the start line... get set ready... GO!)
When the race started, there was the loud bang, but there were also fireworks and confetti, something that I had not seen before at a marathon. It really made the atmosphere that much better. (It really added to the celebrations too, South Korea knows how to party).
(And they're off, so many people, 10's of thousands)
What makes these marathons more like a festival is the atmosphere. The streets were lined with traditional Korean drummers, dancers and “go go” girls. (Korea is full of “go go” girls. whether it’s a new car wash, an electronic store sale or just a nice day, you will see them dancing everywhere on podiums). South Korea is always hosting major events, where you can come along and enjoy. While the main event was the marathon, throughout the day, there were many activities planned, which made the whole thing a really good event.
(These are the go go girls, they're like cheer leaders, and they have lots of spirit)
People of all ages took part in this marathon. There were so many youth and sports clubs taking part in the 5K or 10K sectors. They all looked so happy when they crossed the finish line. Not only that, but there were some people in fancy-dress too. All running for great causes and charities:
(These kids were from a Martial Arts club, they were so happy & excited. They also spoke good English, maybe they go to Chung Dahm Institute?)
(These two were really funny, They were happy to pose for a photo).
As I mentioned above, there were other activities taking part around the marathon. My favorite of which were the Traditional South Korean Drummers. They were lined up & down the start & finish line and also in one of the main parks in the city centre. They were playing traditional Korean beats, and they really got the crowd's attention:
(Not only did they play traditional Korean drums, but they dressed in traditional dress too).
These drums were surprisingly loud, considering they're not very big. Even though I have been living in Korea for almost one year, this was the first time I have seen traditional drummers, and boy where they good. They could be heard over the cheering crowds, and that was no easy feat. Speaking of the cheering crowds, the marathon itself had runners from all over the world. Including America, Ireland, South Africa & Australia. The majority of the winners came from Ethiopia:
(These were the first group to cross the finish line)
This running group was all from Africa, they made a great time, unfortunately, however, they did not break the record, but they did impress the crowds. They made the whole thing just look effortless when crossing the finish line.
[Notice the cool Korean guy posing for the photo underneath the blue balloon :) ]
One thing I missed about being in Ireland was watching the Dublin Marathon. Having volunteered for several years with my friends, I had grown to really like the atmosphere. Thankfully, here in South Korea, they have plenty of marathons, with the next one taking place in three weeks in Busan, Koreas' second largest city. Two of my friends, and fellow English teachers will be running in that too. I cannot wait!
(Even though thousands of people lined the streets to watch the marathon and take part in the other activities, thanks to the awesome crowd control, it didn't feel too overwhelming or crowded, this is something that South Korea is excellent at. This was also evident at the Busan fireworks festival, where over 1,000,000 people came to see the firework, everyone could get where they needed to go & without delay too.)
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He had always wanted to teach and thought what
better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; and loves every minute of it!