"Just when your new year's resolutions were kicking in, North Korea announces that it has banned the participation of foreign amateur and professional runners in the Pyongyang Marathon, due to its ongoing concerns over the spread of the ebola virus.
"We are sorry to announce that our North Korean partners contacted us this morning with news that the 2015 Pyongyang Marathon has — as of today — been closed to amateur and professional foreign runners. We were told that this is due to the ongoing precautions that the country has put in place in relation to fears held there over the Ebola virus," Beijing-based Koryo Tours, which specializes in travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is officially known, posted on its website.
The race will go ahead as scheduled on April 12, 2015. The marathon's website still features two Caucasian runners on its homepage.
The DPRK had banned foreign travelers in late 2014 for the same reason, but announced that travel could begin again this spring.
"We have two further running events scheduled for 2015 — a 10K in Pyongyang in June, which will be held in support of our ongoing charity project providing food aid to several orphanages in North Korea, as well as a half-marathon in the Mount Paekdu area in August," Koryo Tours said.
Even Beijing's skittish public health officials have barely batted an eyelash at ebola, putting up a few signs at Beijing Capital International Airport but little else.
Beijing-based runners have other events to look forward to, with no less than 42 marathons to go for 2015 in various locations within China.
The Great Wall Marathon will go off on May 16, with registration already open. The Color Run 5k has not confirmed a Beijing date for 2015, but took place in July or August in 2013 and 2014. The Beijing International Triathlon is set for September 19 (sprint) and September 20 (Olympic distance). The Beijing International Marathon has not yet confirmed its 2015 date, but will likely take place on October 18.
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