Interview: Trail Runing in North Korea at the Masikryong Marathon

12 Aug 2015 07:45
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Credit : Experience North Korea

Hello, you are organizing the Masikryong Marathon on October 4, 2015. Could you clarify where the place is?

Masikryong is located 176 km from Pyongyang on the east coast of North Korea. Masikryong is a ski resort that was opened last year on an area of 1,400 hectares with the highest point being Taehwa Peak at 1363 m. A region in the middle of the country presenting a great beauty at any time of the year.

You are organizing this event for the first time. Why did you decide to organize it?

We organized the first and second edition of the Pyongyang Marathon in 2014 and 2015, an incredible race that was open to amateur runners. This time we wanted to organize another race but in the middle of the country, in order to discover unexpected corners that exist in North Korea and share them for local sport, passion and nature.


What kind of route awaits the runners? Could you describe it?

We have four different routes based on the distance chosen by each runner.

A loop of 5 km on the ski track number 6 for any beginner or even a child who wishes to live this sportive event. We have registered parents who come to take part in the first trail race with their children.

A route of 10 km on the ski track number 1 that starts uphill followed by a descent, with the highest point at 912 m, an average altitude of 688 m and a minimum at 528 m.


A Semi Marathon route on the ski track number 1 that starts from the Taehwa peak, with a fairly steep climb of 4 km followed by flatter, descending trails. The highest point at 1,363 m, an average altitude of 893 m and a minimum at 628 m.

A route for the Marathon that begins on the ski track number 1 on Sepho Juncture with ascents and descents until the arrival at Pobdong Lake at 25,8 km and return towards the departure point. A beautiful route right in the middle of the mountains.
The altitude rises to 730 m on average, starting at 600 m above the sea level and the maximum altitude reaches 942 m (at the 5th and 35th km).

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What kind of runners do you attract?

We expect to attract around 100 runners from Europe, Asia and Australia. The accommodation capacity is limited which limits the number of tickets for the event. The runner type is that one in constant search of an unique experience to live, whether he/she is an amateur or a professional runner, in a family or solo; every type of runner seeks adventure and discovery of unusual places.

Masikryong Hotel

At this time of the year, what are the expected weather conditions?

A wide range of temperatures between the morning, afternoon and evening. An average temperature of 16°C, which is ideal for running.

Have you planned any festivities around the race?

An award ceremony will take place at the foot of the mountain at 4 pm to give prizes to winners in each category (1st, 2nd and 3rd place). The award presentation done by the sport’s jury of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with hostesses dressed in traditional costumes. Presentation of medals and certifications for all the runners afterwards.
A dinner to celebrate the event at 5 p.m.

Credit : Experience North Korea

After running the marathon, have you planned any tours for the runners who wish to discover North Korea?

We offer two types of tours for those who join this race. A complete itinerary of 7 days and 6 nights to discover and visit Wonsan, Mount Kumgang, Kaesong and Pyongyang and a shorter route of 3 days and 2 nights to participate in the race and visit Kaesong, the demilitarized zone on the border with South Korea.

In one sentence, what would you say to ahotu Marathons’ readers to make them register for the Masikryong Marathon?

Be the first to run on North Korea’s ski tracks, it is a unique opportunity to visit one of the most hermetical countries in the world as well as share your passion for running with Koreans.

Credit : Experience North Korea

Interview with Nathalie Armengol. Nathalie manages Experience North Korea, a travel agency that combines sports, unique travels and exploration, her passions. She joined Experience North Korea as a partner after participating in the first edition of the Pyongyang Marathon opened to amateurs in 2014 where she accompanied a group and participated in the 10 km race, eventually obtaining the silver medal! Her aim is to make North Korea known by opening the doors of this misunderstood and closed country through sport as an unlimited, universal value and to share this passion with Koreans.

Masikryong Marathon, 5k, 10k, Half and Full Marathon