I saw something this week about the Pyongyang Marathon that takes place in North Korea. Apparently, you can sign-up for this race through tour groups that handle all of the paperwork for you and your travel itinerary in North Korea.
There are certain races around the world that have a very exotic element to them – this has to be one of the most interesting of them. Undoubtedly, North Korea is one of the hardest countries to get in. From my understanding from friends who have been there, you are rarely (if ever) left alone during your visit. If you ever wanted to be able to tour Pyongyang on your own without a government escort, running 26.2 miles throughout the city might be the only way to do it! Note: One website says that you must either complete or stop your marathon within 3 hours – not sure if that is for real or not.
This race has been going on for sometime but apparently 2014 is the first time that it is being opened to amateur runners (that’s us!). The only way to enter the marathon is as part of a tour group. These tour prices run from as little as €445 for a 3-day mini package to over €1500 for the longer packages. It could cost €50 for the visa process (which one agency says they can get for you without a problem as long as you are not a journalist). Supposedly, anyone is welcome except South Korean citizens.
Obviously, you would not be able to use miles and points to stay in North Korea or to fly into North Korea. All tours start with your arrival into China. At that point, that tour company handles the rest of your travel arrangements.
Tour Companies Offering Marathon Packages:
That is obviously everyone’s first thought when thinking of traveling to North Korea. If you are adventorous, this could be just the race for you. However, many of your friends and relatives may try to talk you out of signing up for this one! I have been in a similar country before and I can tell you that your movement around the country will be more limited than you may have been used to in other countries. So, should you decide to go, leave your personal travel expectations at home.
If you would like to check out the photos and trip reports of one who has been to North Korea twice, check out fellow BA blogger Stefan on his Rapid Travel Chai page.
Should you decide to run this, please do let me know so I can touch base with you afterwards to get your report!