Running in Korea
Korea is a sport nation. You might recall that they just arranged the winter olympics and almost two decades ago South Korea and Japan were the hosts of the prestigious world soccer championships. Taekwando is a big sport in SK but everyone is not sticking to the mats. Quite a lot of people are out running and distance running as well as trail running are also two popular ways to activate oneself in the country. I had a vision about running Seoul marathon in March this year but unfortunately I could not take vacation that week so I didn’t. I tried to localize races during my stay in SK but it was difficult. My bible of races Ahotu running showed zero and I found a site in English but the racing pages were on korean which I don’t speak so I emailed a few organizers because there were races but no one responded to my emails in English. That is one cultural barrier I am used to from living in SK. If people are not perfect in English, the rather ignore you than try to help you out in order to not lose their face.
So I packed my backpack I use while running with water, my phone and some money and set off myself at the running route I ran so many times while living in Seoul.
Hangang river park
Hangang river park is a great place for doing sports. Well organized with one path for bikers and one for runners. You will pass by various kinds of landscapes such as planted green areas, typical residential areas and governmental structures at Yeouido island. The park is made up for 12 different parks that are connected and there is always something going on there. If you like to challenge your physical health during your stay in SK this is the number one place to do it at I would say.
There are a lot of parks similar to this like the Olympic park and Seoul national forest but this is the best and biggest if you ask me.
When i was running along the course they had a food festival under one of the bridges. There is always something going on along the river and if you are not in hurry why not checking it out?
The running path follows the water and I am a big fan of running along the water so it suited me perfectly. It is not the cleanest water but somehow I really enjoy running alongside water. Anyone who share that passion of running close to the water?
While the calmness of water is at one side of the running path you find a typical picture of Seoul at the other side. Blocks of condos lined up one after another. The space of living in Seoul for every family is in general much bigger than in Hong Kong but as so many other people in the world many want to get out during the weekends and bringing picknick and a tent to go for day camping is a popular activity.
Last but not least let me present the ultra popular “chinese gym”. They are installed at many places along the Hangang river park and are frequently used. Myself also stopped by during my run and tried out a few of the equipments.
A typical picture from the Hangang river park where you have a lot of space for running and also in the shade. Let me call it a perfect runway! If you travel to Seoul and are the sporty type, remember to bring your running shoes.
The day I was going to fly home I aimed for a shorter morning run for 10K in the city center. I have never been running in central Seoul before and thought, how difficult can it be? it turned out to be very difficult though. I had a plan to run along the stream but unfortunately it was closed due to the rain (apparently it gets slippery when wet). So I ran around it. The problem was that there were traffic lights every 150 meter so it turned out to be an intervall run. Around and around and around almost the same path. Well, not what I aimed for so I took off towards the American embassy and found a 500 meter strip which was good for running. But in all fairness running in the city center of Seoul should be avoided especially if wet or if you don’t aim for an interval session. So how did my run turned out? I collected 7 kilometers of movement.
Anyone who have tried to run in central Seoul with better success than what I had?
/ Pernilla the vacation runner