Chuncheon Marathon

The Chuncheon International Marathon (Korean: 춘천마라톤) is an annual marathon race which is held in late October in the city of Chuncheon, South Korea. First held in 1946, it is the second oldest marathon in the country after the Seoul International Marathon. Sponsored by The Chosun Ilbo, a major daily newspaper in South Korea, the race is one of two in the country which holds IAAF Silver Label status, along with Gyeongju International Marathon.[1]

Chuncheon Marathon
DateLate October
LocationChuncheon, South Korea
Event typeRoad
Primary sponsorThe Chosun Ilbo
Course recordsMen's: 2:06:15 (2017)
Kenya Luka Kanda
Women's: 2:26:12 (1997)
South Korea Kwon Eun-ju
Official siteChuncheon Marathon


Sohn Kee-chung winning the 1936 Olympic marathon – one of the inspirations for the race.

The 1936 Summer Olympics saw two Koreans win Olympic medals: Sohn Kee-chung took the gold while Nam Sung-yong was the bronze medallist. Both runners had competed in the colours of Japan, as the competition took place when Korea was part of the Japanese empire. When Japan was defeated in World War II, Korea was liberated and the first "Chosun Ilbo Shortened Marathon" was held the following year, building upon the newly free country's running tradition. Suh Yun-bok, a sports coach at Anyang Technical College, won the first race and later took victory at the Boston Marathon. The race was extended to the marathon distance for the next year and the event was held on the eleventh anniversary of Sohn's Olympic win.[2]

The race was not held from 1950 to 1953 due to the Korean War, but the annual competition has been uninterrupted since then. Marathon running became less popular in Korea in the 1960–70s and it was not until the 1980s that there was a resurgence of interest in the event, which saw women competing in the programme for the first time. Improving course times eventually resulted in Kim Wan-Ki's South Korean record run of 2:11:02 to win in 1991. The national race turned into an international one in 1995 and top runners from Kenya and Japan became frequent participants.[2] The 1996 event hosted the Asian Marathon Championship race.[3]

Course and recordsEdit

The runners cross rivers over the city's bridges.

The course overall is a relatively flat one, with small uphill and downhill sections coming around the 5-kilometre and 30-kilometre marks. The looped course starts near the city centre on the east bank and heads south, following the waterfront. It turns northwards at the 8 km mark as it reaches the city suburbs and traces along the west side of the river for a 20 km stretch. The course then crosses the river and heads back towards the finishing point in down-town Chuncheon.[4]

Kim Wan-Ki's 1991 national and course record lasted only three years as Lee Bong-Ju dipped under the two hours, ten minutes mark with a run of 2:09:59. Moses Tanui became the first Kenyan winner in 1997 and knocked almost a minute off the record.[5] This mark stood for thirteen years, at which point another Kenyan (Benjamin Kiptoo Kolum) took over a minute more off that time for the current men's course best of 2:07:54.[1] That mark was beaten the following year by Stanley Biwott, who went 51 seconds faster.[6] The women's record for the course is Kwon Eun-ju's long-standing time of 2:26:12, which is also a South Korean record.[5]

Past winnersEdit

National eraEdit

Not much is known of the early winners of the race. Suh Yun-bok won the first race in a time of 1:29:24 on a shortened course estimated to have been around 25 km in length.[5] A university student, Hong Jong-Oh, won the second race, beating a field of 50 runners to complete Chuncheon's first true marathon in a time of 2:57:20.[2] The next documented winner came from after the Korean War, as Lee Chang-Hoon won a shorter 20 km race in 1957. The next known winners after this come from the race's period of growth in the 1980s: Kim Won-Tak won in 1985 in around two hours seventeen minutes, while Kim Jae-Ryong took the 1987 race in a time around three minutes faster than that.[5]

Key:   Course record   Short course

Edition Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s)
1st 1946   Suh Yun-bok (KOR) 1:29:24
2nd 1947   Hong Jong-oh (KOR) 2:57:20
Race winners not known (1948–49)
Not held due to Korean War (1950–53)
Race winners not known(1953–1956)
8th 1957   Lee Chang-hoon (KOR) ?
Race winners not known (1958–1984)
36th 1985   Kim Won-tak (KOR) 2:17
37th 1986 Unknown 2:15
38th 1987   Kim Jae-ryong (KOR) 2:14
39th 1988 Unknown 2:13
Race winners not known (1989–90)
42nd 1991   Kim Wan-gi (KOR) 2:11:02 NR
43rd 1992   Chang Ki-shik (KOR) 2:11:24
44th 1993   Yoo Young-hoon (KOR) 2:13:03
45th 1994   Lee Bong-ju (KOR) 2:09:59

International eraEdit

Moses Tanui (right) was the first Kenyan to win the race.

Key:   Course record   Asian Marathon Championship race

Edition Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
46th 1995   Rolando Vera (ECU) 2:11:30   Gang Sun-deok (KOR) 2:35:37
47th 1996   Norihiro Otoshi (JPN) 2:14:02   Yukari Komatsu (JPN) 2:37:54
48th 1997   Moses Tanui (KEN) 2:09:01   Kwon Eun-ju (KOR) 2:26:12
49th 1998   Oh Sung-keun (KOR) 2:18:21   Oh Jung-hee (KOR) 2:38:03
50th 1999   Je In-mo (KOR) 2:14:52   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:35:31
51st 2000   Kim Je-kyong (KOR) 2:13:57   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:37:02
52nd 2001   Ji Young-jun (KOR) 2:15:32   Kwon Eun-ju (KOR) 2:31:33
53rd 2002   Je In-mo (KOR) 2:16:49   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:34:05
54th 2003   Elijah Mutai (KEN) 2:13:54   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:34:27
55th 2004   Elijah Mutai (KEN) 2:14:31   Oh Jung-hee (KOR) 2:35:59
56th 2005   Elijah Mutai (KEN) 2:09:27   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:37:25
57th 2006   Elijah Mutai (KEN) 2:13:46   Yun Sun-suk (KOR) 2:36:04
58th 2007   Victor Mangusho (KEN) 2:14:01   Choi Gyeong-hui (KOR) 2:35:25
59th 2008   Michael Njuroge (KEN) 2:19:01   Choi Gyeong-hui (KOR) 2:44:35
60th 2009   Mulugeta Wami (ETH) 2:09:50   Kim Seon-jeong (KOR) 2:49:35
61st 2010   Benjamin Kiptoo (KEN) 2:07:54   Kim Seon-jeong (KOR) 2:43:39
62nd 2011   Stanley Biwott (KEN) 2:07:03   Oh Jung-hee (KOR) 2:41:23
63rd 2012   David Kemboi (KEN) 2:10:05   Park Yu-jin (KOR) 2:41:55
64th 2013   Nickson Kurgat (KEN) 2:08:29   Park Yu-jin (KOR) 2:41:30
65th 2014   Nickson Kurgat (KEN) 2:07:11   Yeom Ko-eun (KOR) 2:43:33
66th 2015   Adugna Takele (ETH) 2:09:40   Lee Yeon-jin (KOR) 2:41:53
67th 2016   Luka Kanda (KEN) 2:07:21   Kim Ji-eun (KOR) 2:34:39
68th 2017   Luka Kanda (KEN) 2:06:15   Lee Yeon-jin (KOR) 2:40:02
69th 2018   Shifera Tamru (ETH) 2:08:50   Kim Sun-ae (KOR) 2:40:23
70th 2019   Lee Dong-jin (KOR) 2:20:08   Kim Su-jin (KOR) 2:38:31


  1. ^ a b Jalava, Mirko (2010-10-24). Kiptoo smashes Chuncheon record with 2:07:54 victory. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-10-26.
  2. ^ a b c A Brief History of the Chosun Ilbo Marathon. Chuncheon Marathon. Retrieved on 2010-10-26.
  3. ^ Asian Championships Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2013-03-02). Retrieved on 2013-09-28.
  4. ^ Course. Chuncheon Marathon. Retrieved on 2010-10-26.
  5. ^ a b c d Chosunilbo Chunchon Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2009-12-27). Retrieved on 2010-10-26.
  6. ^ Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada (2011-10-23). 2:07:03 course record in Chuncheon for Biwott. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-10-23.
List of winners

External linksEdit