Pyongyang Marathon Race Day FAQs
Hey all you runners! Here’s what you need to know to get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime race.
Where and what time will the marathon start?
The first piece of news is that for this year’s Pyongyang Marathon, the start and end point of the marathon will be at the newly renovated May Day Stadium! All runners will be required to report to the stadium at approximately 7am. Once you report to the stadium, runners will be brought into the stadium according to your marathon length (most of the spectators will already be seated so expect a very warm welcome!).
What if I can’t finish in 4 hours?
The race is officially from 9am to 1pm, but last year, amateur runners were given a 30-minute head start in order to ensure they make it back to the stadium within 4 hours. The roads will reopen to traffic at 1pm so all runners must report back to the stadium before then. Runners who still have some distance to go at the cut-off time will be escorted back to the stadium by car.
What is the weather like in Pyongyang in early April?
In early April, the weather in Pyongyang will be comfortably in the 60s F/ high teens C. Mornings and evenings will be chilly so please make sure to bring enough layers for the pre-race ceremony and the awards ceremony.
What’s the air quality like in Pyongyang?
Air quality is really quite good in Pyongyang. There aren’t a lot of cars, and relatively little industry compared to its neighbors. It’s a really clean city, and people take great collective pride in keeping it that way. Outside the city, natural landscapes are mostly untouched.
What can I wear before the race?
The stadiums in North Korea have dress codes. On the field (as runners, you will be), you cannot wear jeans or inappropriate clothing. Runners will be expected to wear athletic clothes on the field. Once inside the stadium, runners will have approximately 20 minutes to prepare for the race. Please wear your running clothes underneath other layers, and have your bib already attached.
What can I wear during the race?
Officially, runners must wear solid colors and logos must be under a certain size. See our official race rules and information post for more information. However, these rules were not strictly enforced in prior years. However, it’s best to bring clothes as close to these rules as possible.
When will I get my runner’s bib?
Runner bibs and pins will be provided the night before the race by your tour operator and can be pinned to your shirt (front and back) the morning of the race.
Where can I keep my stuff during the race?
Bring a small pack so to keep your clothes. Most of the tour operators will have designated areas for their runners. Your guides will watch your bags during your race. Come back to the designated area once you’ve crossed the finish line. Then you can go up to the stands to watch the football game and in-stadium entertainment until the awards ceremony.
Will energy drinks be available during the race?
No. There will be water stations at various locations throughout the course. However, there will not be any energy drinks or Gatorade provided. If you want to bring an energy drink, we recommend carrying it with you during the race.
Will there be food available in the stadium?
Not really. Uri Tours runners will get a banana and apple before the race, and you’re welcome to bring your own snacks for after the race. Lunch will be after the awards ceremony.
Where are the bathrooms?
To be honest, we can’t tell you exactly where the restrooms are. But they will be available, and there will be signs throughout the course.
Can I have an iPod/phone/GoPro/camera on me during the race?
Officially, you can’t have any of these devices on you during the race. However, these rules were not enforced in prior years, and you can expect this year to be the same. Your tour operator will inform you if otherwise the night before the race.
Can I bring a GPS watch?
This one is tricky. Some GPS watches were let through customs last year, while others were not. Officially, GPS devices are not permitted. Phones, iPads and other devices that may have GPS capabilities are different, and are allowed. But stand-alone GPS devices are not. If you plan to bring a GPS watch, bring one that you can afford to part with during the trip just in case it’s not let through. In that case, it will be held at the airport and you’ll get a receipt to be used to collect it upon exiting Pyongyang.
What’s the awards ceremony like?
AWESOME. Runners are celebrated in front of a stadium packed full of people. The professionals will be awarded first, then the amateur first, second and third winners in each of the categories will be awarded. Winners get a very cool and valuable celadon vase along with a certificate and winner’s medal.
What happens after the race?
Runners will go back to their hotels for lunch, shower and a brief rest. The rest of the afternoon/evening will be dedicated to sightseeing and a post-race dinner.