Legends of the fall: Chuncheon Marathon

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Go run in the land of morning calm!

The cool breeze and autumn sky was drenched in hues of orange, pink, and purple while the trees stand coated with so many colours. This is how the Land of Morning Calm welcomes us as we set foot on their ground. Running Malaysia flew to cover the second oldest marathon in Korea—the Chuncheon Marathon, and brought home our amazing experiences. Read on!

We landed at Incheon International Airport after a 6.5-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and continued our journey for another 2 hours to the city of Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province. The 134-kilometer drive to the northeast unveiled before our very eyes the modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways, pop culture, Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets that Korea has to offer.

 RUNNING IN KOREA

Our first stop is the province where this international marathon was being held for the past 70 years. Gangwon-do known as Gangwon Province was one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. The province was formed in 1395 and derived its name from the names of the principal cities of Gangneung and the provincial capital Wonju. In 1896 Korea was divided into thirteen provinces, and the two districts were merged to reform Gangwon-do Province. Although Wonju re-joined Gangwon-do province, the provincial capital was moved to Chuncheon, where it remains until today.

Located in the mid-eastern part of the Korean peninsula, Gangwon-do’s landscape is dominated by the prominent peaks of Taebaek Mountains (Taebaek Sanmaek) which almost reaches the sea resulting for coast to be steep. The clean, serene beaches offer some of the best sceneries and vacation spots to everyone throughout the year. Gangwon is also rich in historical and ecological tourist attractions that have been buried for half a century.

From Gangwon we move to the core of this marathon. Chuncheon is the capital of Gangwon Province and the city’s name has been renamed thrice before receiving its current name in 1413. The city lies in the north of the province, located in a basin formed by the Soyang River and Han River. For travellers weary of Seoul’s crowds and big city atmosphere, Chuncheon can be an ideal place to spend the holidays. The area is surrounded by rivers and hills, offers a variety of relaxing outdoor activities and small-town feel but with a rapidly increasing shopping and nightlife scenes.