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BUSAN, South Korea -- Running is the most basic and natural form of exercise, requiring no gym membership and no equipment but a pair of shoes. There are no rules but that you move forward.

Making a Run For it in Busan


BUSAN, South Korea — Running is the most basic and natural form of exercise, requiring no gym membership and no equipment but a pair of shoes. There are no rules but that you move forward.

If someone is new to Busan, or new to running in general, the best resource for all things running is the roughly over 600-member Facebook group “Waeguks Got Runs.” The page offers local runners posting information on training, races, nutrition and anything running-related.

Sean de Waal, an administrator on the group’s page, says it’s an informal running club; it does not organize races, take fees or provide services. Instead, it helps foreign runners in Korea find their way. Though primarily focused on the southern half of the country, the page offers translated information on how to register for races across the country, prompting new events weekly.

“There are runners from all levels of ability—from some speedsters who run under 35 minutes in 10K races, to plodders who may come home in an hour-and-a-half or more for the same race,” de Waal says, adding that the same event will often host three or four courses, including a 5km, 10km, half-marathon (21.1km) and full marathon (42.2km).

According to de Waal, races in Korea are not only limited to the road. Trail races are growing in popularity across the peninsula as well. “The abundance of hills and mountains in Korea with well developed hiking trails makes it pretty easy to get into—just follow the brightly coloured ajummas and ajeosshis at your nearest mountain park.”

Running is not only a great way to get fit, it’s also a great way to see the country: in the spring and summer, races are held just about every weekend all across Korea. (You wouldn’t guess it, of course, given how few runners one sees on the street. In most parts of Busan, save for the tracks along the Oncheonjang and Suyeong rivers, it’s far more common to see a foreigner running than a Korean. But that shouldn’t stop someone from donning their shoes and going for a run.) It’s more fun if you run with a friend, and the Waeguks Facebook group is a great place to meet other runners or seek advice.

If you want to start running, de Waal recommends beginners start off slowly, have a running buddy when possible, eat properly and seek advice and support from experienced runners. That way, they’ll be able to enjoy the sport for years longer, injury-free.

For more info check the Waeguks Got Runs Facebook page.


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