SEOUL, May 29 (Korea Bizwire) — North Korea has begun attracting foreign tourists to an annual international marathon event to be held in Pyongyang next year, with a tour agency saying it will be the “most amazing race of your life.”
The Pyongyang International Marathon, also known as the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, will be held on April 12 next year, according to Beijing-based Koryo Tours specializing in tours to North Korea.
“Pyongyang’s annual marathon is your chance to run the streets of the capital along with hundreds of locals and visitors — the most amazing race of your life, exclusively available from Koryo!” the agency said on its website.
“All runners then have the chance to finish their race inside Kim Il Sung stadium in front of a capacity crowd of 50,000 people. It’s the closest experience to being in the Olympics!” it added.
Participants can run 5 kilometers, 10k and half and full-course marathons, the tour agency said. A 10 percent discount will be given to those who sign up for the race before Aug. 31, it said.
North Korea has held the annual race since 1981 in celebration of the April 15 birthday of its late founder Kim Il-sung. Since 2014, the event has been open to foreign runners.
This year’s marathon race was held on April 7. Foreign media reported that around 1,000 runners took part in the event.
North Korea has used the event as a way to earn hard currency from foreign travelers.
The North launched the promotion for next year’s marathon amid little sign that global sanctions on its regime will be eased anytime soon following the breakdown of February’s summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.