The Autumn Amateur Marathon is set to take place in Pyongyang for the second year in a row on September 23, according to a post on the website of tour company Uri Tours.
The event will include a 5K, 10K, and half and full marathons, with registration fees ranging from USD$70-110, the post says.
Last year was the first time North Korea held a marathon for international runners in the fall season, though NK News found that the inaugural race largely failed to attract foreign runners.
Sources in the city at the time reported low participation in the event, despite at least four western tour groups offering related tour packages.
Total participation saw only 240 runners, including North Koreans, according to DPRK media reports.
By comparison, the 2018 spring marathon – officially called the “Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon” – saw the participation of over 1000 runners total and over 400 foreign runners, though this was less than half the number who attended in 2017.
Last year’s fall marathon differed for several technical reasons, most noticeably in its smaller opening and closing ceremonies taking place at the base of the Arch of Triumph.
The spring marathon, in contrast, begins and ends inside nearby Kim Il Sung stadium, typically with thousands of spectators in the stands.
The inaugural Autumn Amateur Marathon is also not professionally timed or recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Further details of changes to this year’s race have not yet been released.
The fall marathon will likely this year have a larger coinciding tourist draw than last, however, with the return of a new “mass games” event this September, the first of its kind since 2013.
The event is set to run throughout the month, starting on September 9: the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding.
While the event’s Korean title was announced months ago, Koryo Tours recently revealed that its English title will officially be “The Glorious Country.”
But at least one tour company which offered a package including the fall marathon last year said they would not be offering tours in connection to the event this year, citing low interest last year.
Low participation in the first annual autumn race and decreased participation in the 29th annual spring race was likely due, in part, to political tensions on the peninsula and a State Department order prohibiting Americans from traveling to North Korea.
Enacted on September 1, the U.S. travel ban is set to expire the same day in 2018 if it is not actively renewed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
This means that if it is not renewed, Americans will be able to begin traveling to North Korea again in September, though it is unclear if tour companies will accept U.S. passport-holders ahead of official news regarding the order’s continuation.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: DPRK Today
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