The peace marathon in Toronto took place at Sunnybrook park just last week, September 26th 2015. Organized by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA – 한인회), they offer 5K and 10K runs, as well as a 5K walk. With the 5K walk starting at the KCCA office, I headed there first and made it just in time for the official start. Unfortunately, I took a few pictures with my camera and realized I had forgotten the memory card so I had to make due with my nexus 5. Why is it named a Peace Marathon? Well because they are hoping for one Korea. I explain a bit more somewhere below.
I stuck around for a bit before deciding to check out what was happening in Sunnybrook park with the 5K and 10K runs. I got lost getting there. The park and the office are right beside each other, so don’t ask me how (I don’t like asking for directions, even from a gps). By the time I got there the marathon was a good 45 minutes min with people already returning from their run.
The atmosphere was refreshing. My friend acted as DJ and I was liking the beats. I wanted to dance right there, or hit the club right after, mind you it was 10am. A lot of people proud to have completed the run, and those cheering on their friends. The free Tim Hortons coffee and timbits sealed the deal. I also saw a familiar face who came all the way from Mississauga on public transit just to make the race. Too bad we didn’t tell each other before hand we were both going, it would probably be a more comfortable ride.
As things were wrapping up at the park, the KCCA office was busy preparing for the presentations. The first thing that caught my eye was the large printed Korean Air logos, definitely tickets to Korea. There was also a 40 inch Toshiba TV up for grabs. Very interesting indeed. A band composed of saxaphones played music that was more modern, and the kind of music you’d hear at festivals in Korea. Folk like, but it made the atmosphere.
It was interesting to learn that the Peace Marathon this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of occupation in Korea. However it also marks the division of Korea to what is known today as North(DPRK) and South Korea(ROK). The organizers stressed that they wished for a reunified Korea. Families and generations have been split because of the division of the country, and all because it was out of their control. I won’t get into any specifics here, but I’ve been following Yeonmi Park for some of the news I hear on this issue. You can find her on facebook here, or simply ask what your Korean friends think about the issue.
Quite a few representatives for the political parties were there, but this was really about the runners. I don’t have a full list of the prize winners, but some of the more notable ones I’ll list out.
Dalimi or Toronto Runners Club received an enormous trophy for having the most participants in the event. The club at 60 strong likely had 25+ runners in. Mr. White placed 1st for the 5K run and won a set of dishware. Steve Cho placed in the 10K and received a nice plaque and prize bag.
Remember that TV and the Korean Air tickets? I was ready to start training for the next marathon, but apparently those weren’t for the first place finishers. Saves me a lot of time in the months to come. These were to be determined by a raffle. Participants were given a raffle ticket just for participating. It kept everyone at the presentation until the end. The first ticket’s number was called, but no one called. After a few tense moments, the real winners didn’t hesitate to run up to the front (after double checking their number.) The tickets went to two of the participants, and one who brought his daughter on stage. I’m sure that will make for an awesome unplanned trip.