Excuse me while I interrupt our regularly programmed travel posts to freak out. DID YOU KNOW that foreigners are welcome to enter North Korea if they are either running or spectating the Pyongyang Marathon / Half-Marathon / 10K?! Wow. My entire world has been rocked. And a new item has been added to my Dream Board, for sure.
Maybe I’m the last person in the world to hear about this. But I found out at approximately 6:38 AM this morning through Runner’s World and have barely stopped Googling more information about it ever since. Here are two of my favorite articles so far: “Runner Instagrams North Korean Marathon” and “Canadian Runs North Korean Marathon, Takes Candid Images.” Both articles mention the same runner (Jen Loong) and use the images she captured during her time in North Korea. But they’re amazing images, so I think both articles are worth your time.
Basically, the Pyongyang Marathon opened to both amateur runners and to foreigners this year. It plans to be the same next year, and I could not be more ecstatic to follow the updates as they roll in. From what I can tell, foreign runners and/or spectators can enter through a tour agency from Beijing. The tour agency (there are a number that I found through a simple Google search) organizes everything, from tidbits of tourism around Pyongyang and the North Korea/South Korea border to hotel reservations and meals to race day. This means that, apart from the separate cost of your flight from Place A to Beijing, the tour agency dictates the cost of your entire trip. The agencies that I found online offer trips for only about $1500. That is incredible.
All that to say, keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested! I know I am.