'Run, Women, Run! Blossom, Peace, Blossom!'
The early summer air in Sangambeol, Seoul, was embroidered bright pink by the legs of healthy, peace-loving women, families, lovers and children. The third Women's Marathon organized by The Women's News on May 11 at the Seoul Sangam World Cup Stadium South Gate Plaza and Park was a huge success, with more than 6,000 participants including the runners, their families, cheering citizens and guests.
The event was divided into the 15-km (women) and 5-km (women and mixed) marathon courses and the 3-km walkathon, and about 5,000 people took part in the three courses, amidst the cheers of 1,000 family members and guests.
The event is an upgraded version of the first and second 'Azumma Marathon,' which was more women-oriented. This year, the marathon has been named 'Women's Peace Marathon,' expressing the participants' desire for peace on the Korean peninsula and in the world. Accordingly, many of the women groups that had led the anti-war peace campaign during the US aggression against Iraq sent their teams to take part in the marathon.
Some of the women groups that took part in the marathon waving 'peace' flags are Women Making Peace, the Korea Women's Association United and the Bodyguards HQ for Women Politicians. Other organizations that sent large delegations are political parties such as the Women's Committee of the Grand National Party, the Women's Bureau of the New Millennium Democratic Party (NMDP) and the National Women's Council of the People's Party for Reform, as well as unions and associations including the Bank of Korea workers' union, Seoul City Council of Housewives and the Korea Nurses Association.
The participants that drew the most attention at the event were the 11 Peace Boys. Charged with the mission of delivering the message of peace, the Peace Boys took part with colorful balloons symbolizing peace attached to their backs, grabbing the attention of runners and spectators alike.
Eight of the Peace Boys including lawyer Kang Ji-won, psychiatrist Kim Byung-hu, singer Yoo Yeol and Gangwon-do governor Kim Jin-seon completed the course. National Assemblyman Bae Gi-seon (Wonmi A Constituency, Bucheon) of the NMDP spontaneously registered as a Peace Boy and took part in the 3-km walkathon, complete with colored balloons on his back. Choi Young-hee (proportional representative, NMDP) appointed herself a Peace Girl to the cheers of approval from the participants.