We Run Seoul 2014

The Nike “We Run Seoul” race is one of the most hotly anticipated races in the city. So much so, that registration only opens 2 weeks before the event. On that day, Koreans everywhere sit beside their computers to get a place. The race only has 2 divisions, 10km and 21km. There are 20,000 spaces for the 10km and 10,000 for the 21km.

While I wasn’t exactly sitting and waiting for the registration to open, I did try that day and failed to get a place. My Korean friend, however, got a place and couldn’t do it so she gave it to me!

The gear arrived the week before the race and the pack was a simple Nike t shirt, a plastic bag (for storing your gear on the day), the number and a voucher. The chips were already glued to the back of the number so that made it more convenient than usual.

The race itself was a bit of a let down. First, it is important to show up early, as your gear must go into the lorries before 2pm. Since the start and finish points are different, the lorries go ahead of the runners and you can collect your stuff at the finish line. The race doesn’t actually start until 3pm. That leaves lots of time for lunch, coffee, stretching, whatever. Runners are divided into 4 categories, A,B,C,D.A & B are the long distance runners and they leave first.

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Hanging out in Gwanghwamun before the race.

 

 

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It looked like this for all 10km……..

I was group D and despite doing my best to get close to the top I couldn’t and ended up a long way back. I could hear the M.C. talking to the crowd and if I heard the “Just do it” slogan one more time, I would gladly have jumped up and shoved the microphone down his neck. A lot of people looked like they were there to try out for Nike models and looked fit to do anything BUT run.

Eventually the C group left and since there were just so many of us we got to leave together. Because the stage was by the start line and the M.C. was some famous guy, everyone wanted a picture which slowed the whole thing down.

The race started in Gwanghwamun and finished in Yeouido and it was lovely to see people either side of the road cheering you on.  The sheer volume of people made it close to impossible to run. I initially thought it was space out after the first few kilometres but it didn’t. A kilometer 5 there was a band playing and of course people just stopped up for pictures creating another pile up. Just as we were almost finished, the road narrowed and there was a bottle neck of runners. After that though, the sprint to the finish line was clear.

All in all it’s always good to do a race and it was great to see so many people getting out and involved. If you’re a serious runner I recommend you do the 21km. I can’t see myself do that particular race again but getting to run through the city was really nice.

 

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My friend and I at the finish!

 

 

Top 5 things to see on Jeju Island.

Jeju is the perfect weekend get away if you’re looking for a break from the main land. Just a 50 minute flight from Gimpo, return tickets can be bought for as little as 100,000 won.

I’ve just returned from my fifth trip to the island and have compiled my top 5 list of things to see on the island.

 

1. Seongsan Ilchulbong- Otherwise known as “Sunrise Peak”, this peak is located on the east side of the island. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said to have risen about 100,000 years ago after a volcanic eruption.

The entry fee is a mere 2,000won.  The climb to the top depends on how fit you are. It generally takes about 40 minutes. It’s not that difficult and there are little look out points along the way.

The view from the top is spectacular. It is also recommended to do the sunrise here.

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At the bottom, you can take the steps down to the sea. You can get a boat ride around the coast for 10,000 won.

You can also see the Haenyeo here. Haenyeo are the diving women of Jeju. For many years, these women have dived into the ocean in search of clams, abalone or seaweed. They are a very unique part of the Jeju island. You may be lucky enough to see them out diving in other parts of the island but twice a day, they do a show at the bottom of Seongsan Ilchulbong.

 

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2. Hallasan– You cannot visit Jeju without visiting Hallasan. Hallasan is a vocano and the highest mountain in South Korea. It has five hiking trails of different lengths and which one you choose depends on your interest in hiking. My mum and I chose a super easy 1.2 km trail (off the Eorimok Trail) which was difficult enough but the view from the top was spectacular. wpid-20140926_145512_pano.jpg

 

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3. Waterfalls- Jeju is full of waterfalls. They are everywhere. I’ve visited a few and my favourite are probably Cheonjeyeon beside the Botanic Gardens. In this are you can see three waterfalls. It is a nice walk from one to another and you cross the Seonimgyo bridge as you go. This bridge has seven nymphs on the side.

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4. The Beach

Jeju during the summer season makes it worth visiting the beach. There are several around the island.  The one we liked best was Jungmun Saekdal beach. There are other things to see in that area so it is definately worth a few hours to visit.

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5. Yongduam and the coast road.

Just a few kilometres from the airport is an attraction calle dYongduam. It is a rock shaped like a Dragon Head. It is a nice thing to see (although it doesn’t exactly look like a dragon). Then hit the coast road for the next 8 kilometres to see the beautiful coast of Jeju. There are several things to do along the way.

 

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And a bonus………THE MYSTERY ROAD!!!!!!

Everyone loves a good mystery road. We found it on the drive around the coast ot maybe the drive on the way to sunrise peak. Anyway, we found it. There is a point in the road when you put your car in neutral and although the road looks to be a downhill, the car will mysteriously go uphill. WordPress wouldn’t let me upload it straight here so I uploaded to Facebook and here’s a link;

 

That’s all for now folks! Add your comments and questions below!!