Thursday, April 12, 2007

Trans Korea 308K, 537K, and 643K

Korean Culture and Running

Korean drama and culture is popular in Far East Asia. My country people (Taiwan) around the world (Taiwan, USA, etc) love to watch their drama and celebrities. Korean has the highest plastic surgery rate in the world, so the same become popular in Taiwan, Japan, and other countries around there. My family love Korean food as well as Japanese food. We like their variety of dishes, so called appetizer, before the meal.

On the other hand, Korean is also very competitive in long distance running in the world. I clearly remember two things. In 2002, the Korean runner Bong-Ju Lee won the Boston Marathon among the world best runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, etc. Last year, Sim Jae Duk won Massanutten Mountain Tails 100 Miles on the second day of arrival from Korea. This year he is one of the hottest runners in the Western States 100M. Have we had ever non-US runners winning Western States 100M?

I don't understand Korean language, but there is an email on the Ultrarunning List about Trans Korean. The race looks like interesting and highly recommended. I went to the web site Korean UltraMarathon Federation. I found there are three distances.

I don't know the differences between the last two because I can't read the language. I guess they are probably on different routes with 106K difference!

Here is the invitation letter for the West to East Sea 308K.

West to East Sea 308K

A Letter of Invitation

Dear fellow ultrarunners,

We are happy to introduce you to a really spectacular long distance ultramarathon race in Korea that has been a highly kept secret outside of Korea.

This is "Trans Korea 308 km Ultra Marathon race ", which has been held yearly since the year 2000. This trail / road race is a crossing of the Korean Peninsula, starting from the West Sea (Yellow Sea) to the East Sea (Pacific Ocean), with a cut-off time of 64 hours.

The whole race is organized by KUMF, the Korea UltraMarathon Federation, which has proved its outstanding ability of race organization to the world through the recent IAU 100 KM World Cup '06, Misari, Seoul, Korea.

Runners will be aided for drinks or some very basic food items every 50km and any further sort of personal needs must be met by the runners themselves.

Last year, the number of runners who ran the race were, (please don't be surprised) 203, and finishers 151. This year you could be one of the intrepid challenging runners of over 400, in view of the current long distance running boom here in Korea.

Should anyone want to challenge the absolute solitude of the Far East, enjoying the awesome wind-chimes far away from the temples in the misty moon light, why not come and join us the challenge of Trans Korea 308 km Ultramarathon 2007 in Korean peninsular, the land of morning calm!!? We bet it's going to be the most spectacular, unforgettable experience that you will cherish the whole rest of your life.

When : Sept 13 - 16, 2007
Where : Seoul, Korea
Organization : Korea Ultra Marathon Federation
Contact : Trans Korea 308km
e-mail :

Reg. fee : US$300.- per person ( Local transportation inclusive from hotel to the start then from the finish, back to the hotel )

Remarks : A Free Home Stay program will be offered for those who want to know more about Korean culture and tradition.


Park, Bokjin

Race Director President
Organizing Committee of Lee, Youngsik

Trans Korea 308 km Ultramarathon '07
Korea Ultra Marathon Federation

When Am I going to do it?

I love Korean cuisine and am interested in their culture, so I'll choose FREE home stay. I think my family will love this trip as well. In particular, it is only two hour flight from Taiwan. We can plan this on our annual visit Taiwan afterwards.

However, it will be a few years from now since I'm focusing on the races in US and it will take me some time to be capable of doing such a long distance. I'll keep in this my mind. I think I want to finish similar things in Taiwan first since Taiwan is smaller (but may not be easier). Here are my estimates,
  • West to East or vice versa 150K to 200K on three major road (north, mid, and south)
  • North to South or vice versa 400K
  • Around Taiwan 1000K since Taiwan is an island
One thing that stands out is that Taiwan is mountainous and hilly. Crossing Taiwan sometimes requires climbing over the passes at 10,000ft from sea level.


Peter Lubbers said...

That sounds amazing. When I was in Kauai last year, I thougt it might be great to run around the entire island (approx 90 miles). Maybe that could be a warmup for your Taiwan loop! Are there any organized Ultras in Taiwan?

Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Yeah. Should try something shorter first.

There was an IAU World 100K held in Taiwan a few years ago. Otherwise, there is an annual 89K run in southern Taiwan. The distance sounds like Comrades, but the temperature is normally about 100F without shade on the paved road. And it's in spring time! I'd like to try this challenge if I have a chance.


anil said...

Thanks for the post.

Ya, I read abt this sometime back, Trans europe events have been popular for a while, Korea would be fun, probably I can also fit in shorter race along the way to India :).

I am little afraid abt the food though, since I am a veggie, find it tough to get veggie food in South east asian region.

Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Anil, these shall be our "fatansy ultra goals" :-)

How about trans India?


anil said...

Actually , I was thinking abt possiblity of running east to west one of the years, which is abt 1500km, abt 900 miles.

North to south is 2500km, little far fecthed, but 900 at the rate of 30 miles a day is doable in a month :).

A month's vacation and 2 weeks break is all it takes.

Interested? I will try to rope in
rajeev as well.

Eastern India food is quite influenced by Oriental culture, you should will like it :)

Fantasy comes true as well (sometimes)