Monday, May 29, 2017

The Malaysia Marathon 2017


If running is your thing, then get ready to run the Malaysia Marathon, the most exciting running event of the year that's slated to take place on the 1st of October 2017 at the iconic Dataran Merdeka! The Malaysia Marathon, is a joining of hands in friendship between Malaysian and Chinese athletes through sports in line with the Belt and Road initiative, which promotes globalization.

To kick off this joint venture, the Belt and Road Marathon Series 2017, the Malaysia Marathon will see its launch this October in the hope that the event will catch on in other parts of the world. The event was proposed in China last year and will be held in Malaysia this year. 

The Malaysia Marathon 2017 will offer four various running categories to choose from which are the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon, a Quarter Marathon (10km) run and a 5km fun run. This highly anticipated running event is expected to attract a large number of running enthusiast and with only 20,000 slots being offered for all four categories!

The Malaysia Marathon is organized by Wisdom Sports Malaysia and is supported by MOTAC and DBKL and handled by the highly professional and trusted race operators, 21st Century Sports (M) Sdn Bhd. Stay tuned for its official launch and opening of registration soon. Be sure to sign up to enjoy a run around the streets of the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MARATHON LEGENDS TO HELP RUNNERS REALIZE THEIR DREAMS


Thursday 25 May

The biggest names in Australian marathon running history will be on hand to run alongside, back slap, high-five and cheer on participants to the finish line of the 39th Gold Coast Airport Marathon on 1-2 July.

Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former world record holder Rob de Castella will lead the charge of running legends striding out with entrants along with 1994 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Gold Coast 2018 Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti, Australian female marathon record holder Benita Willis, Australian half marathon All-Comers record holder Pat Carroll and three-time Olympian Lee Troop, who is making a special trip from his home in Boulder USA.

Runners entered in the Southern Cross University 10km Run on Saturday 1 July will receive motivation from pacing shoulder to shoulder with their idols along the route starting at Broadwater Parklands, crossing the Sundale Bridge twice before venturing to Biggera Waters then returning to the parklands for a heroes’ welcome from family and friends. 

Gold Coast Airport Marathon CEO Cameron Hart says that the opportunity for runners to attain a personal goal alongside those who have achieved greatness at the highest level is one not to be missed.

“There is no other race in Australia which offers participants the chance to run with the best of the best motivating and inspiring you every step of the way,” Mr Hart said.

“Many of us fondly remember egging on Deek in ’82; to have him cheer you on while you strive for your personal goal is a unique experience!”

Australian marathon running legend Rob de Castella says that he is looking forward to being a part of the event and supporting runners in reaching their goals.

There is absolutely nothing better than running that last 100m down through the finish chute of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and to be able to celebrate and share that with runners, to be able to give them a high-five or a hug, is going to be magnificent,” Mr de Castella said.

“It is an incredible feeling of accomplishment and I’m looking forward to being amongst it on the Gold Coast! “It’s the best running weekend in the country; course, crowd, location and organisation, and my family and I want to be a part of it.”

Benita Willis, who called time on her professional career after the London 2012 Olympic Games, is excited about being in the mix with runners when the starter’s gun fires before the 10km journey.

“A big reason why I’m coming is to see the thousands of people enjoy the sport I love so much - no matter what their ability, gender, age or background. Seeing people achieve life-long goals is amazing and to be nearby when they do will be brilliant,” Ms Willis said.

“I love the Gold Coast and feeling the buzz of excitement in the air during the whole GCAM weekend – can’t wait!”

The 39th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July.

Set to attract more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities, this year’s race program will feature the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over 42.195km, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, The Star Gold Coast 5.7km Challenge, Zespri 4km Junior Dash and Zespri 2km Junior Dash.

To enter or for more information visit goldcoastmarathon.com.au.

ENDS

For further information please contact: 

 Jacob Bush, Marketing Executive, Events Management Queensland
Phone: 07 5668 9801, Mobile: 0448 188 927, Email: jacob@goldcoastevents.com.au

Stephen Lock, Media Consultant, Events Management Queensland
Mobile: 0408 124 694, Email: stephen@goldcoastevents.com.au



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Seoul Sightseeing: Days 6, 7 & 8

A recap for days 1-5 can be found here and here.

The sixth day of my stay in Seoul started off with me having aches all over my legs and body from the marathon event of the day before even with a good night's sleep behind me. Nevertheless, I was up and about, albeit shuffling achingly around the room.

I made plans with the gang for a recovery run along the Cheonggyecheon stream as that was the best way to ease the aches. The weather was as cold as it has always been in the mornings and dressed in my shorts and a long sleeve top, I made my way to the stream to meet the gang halfway. I was surprised that I could still run decently and took a slow jog along the stream.

There were lots of other runners also doing their recovery runs this cold morning. I ran along the entire stretch of the stream but somehow due to some screw up in timing, I missed seeing the gang and doubled back towards the apartment. It was only then that I saw them and found out they went the other way along the river to find me. Once we teamed up, we continued the run, took some pictures and made plans with to join my wife and me on our rounds around Seoul. Yan Leng and Jeanie had other plans of their own.


A short recovery run with the gang.

I headed back to the apartment to grab a shower and told CY I'd text him the meet-up location once I got it from my wife who was already showered, changed and ready for our sightseeing. This time, we made sure we ate something before heading out. Didn't want a repeat of my nonsense from two days ago happening again.

Today would see us heading to find another Goblin shoot location and then to some place called the Common Ground, a mall made up of shipping containers. All these were located in a place called Seongsu-dong. After our breakfast we headed to the subway below and hopped on the subway heading to Seongsu-dong station. We would rendezvous with CY and his wife at the station and make our way to find the Goblin filming shoot location.

We arrived a little earlier and I grabbed a can of coffee from a convenience store to keep warm as the weather was still rather chilly and to wait for them while my wife took a short exploratory walk around the place. Once they arrived, we made our way looking for the Goblin place. The shops around the area were pretty quaint selling mostly custom-made shoes and footwear. We got a little confused with the directions and missed the small turning that would take us to the Goblin place and ended up going a little ways down the road.

Some of the Hand-Drawn poster around Seongsu-dong that my wife took while waiting for CY

Seongsu-dong was known for its handmade shoes

After doubling back, we finally found the small slip road that would take us to our destination. A few short minutes later, we arrived at what was the location shoot for a scene from the Goblin K-Drama series. Now, I was totally confused as I'm not a K-Drama fan and have not seen the series. But both my wife and CY were discussing it like the experts they were and I just nodded my head like I understood ... hahaha! The scene was of a building with a mural of Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway. Of course, we couldn't leave the place without taking some pictures, after all that was the purpose of this visit. With the picture taking done, next on our list was Daelim Warehouse Cafe, a gallery cum restaurant housed in an unassuming building a short walk away.

Wife happily posing away at the Goblin Location Shoot building

The walk took us through a residential alley that housed some quaint apartment-like dwellings. One thing about winter and the cold, it makes you hungry quite fast. I was already beginning to feel rumblings in my tummy. Good thing the gallery had a restaurant in there and we could grab some food once we get there.

About 10 minutes later, we finally arrived and were hesitant to enter cos my wife had read that there was an entrance fee and we contemplated not going in. While we were lounging around in discussion, this local elderly lady came and showed us how to open the huge door to enter the place. She probably thought we were idiots who don't know how to open doors ... LOL! It was then that we also discover that there was no entrance fee.

The exterior of the Daelim Warehouse Cafe

The restaurant among trees inside the Warehouse

The inside of the building housed some modern art displays as well as a restaurant with its own indoor trees giving the place a pretty rustic look. We took a walk around and after checking out the menu, we decided against eating here as they mostly served Western stuff and we weren't up for anything Western this cold morning. So instead, we just took pictures (but of course!) and decided on grabbing Kyochon Chicken for lunch.

Some of the exhibits in the Warehouse

Choon Yuen up to his tricks again 

After locating an outlet on Google, we followed the directions towards it to get a short break and lunch before heading to our next stop for the day which was the Common Ground Container Mall. Kyochon Chicken was a 20 minute or so walk but we didn't mind since the weather was really cooling for walking outdoors. You wouldn't see me so enthusiastic about the outdoors if I was back home in the sweltering heat.

After our chicken lunch in the nearly deserted Kyochon Chicken shop and with tummies filled, we made our way towards the Common Ground Mall. It was another short 15 minutes walk and soon enough we saw some huge blue shipping containers stacked upon each other looming in the distance. I've never been in a container before let alone one converted into a mall. This would be something to remember. My wife had done a thorough research on it and was like a tour guide for me. She even Google walked this and for her, it was bringing life to pictures.

The Common Ground Container Mall

The containers were stacked 3 levels up and made into a nice square that housed a mall selling clothing, accessories and souvenirs with the uppermost levels housing eateries. We browsed the insides of the mall just window shopping cos nothing caught our eyes besides we were still full from lunch earlier. We spent about an hour or so here before we decided to head back as were feeling the effects of fatigued from all that walking and coupled with the marathon the day before, our aged bodies were really struggling to keep going.



The inside of the Common Ground Container Mall

We made our way to the nearest subway and headed back to our respective apartments. I was already nodding off in the train ride back and couldn't wait to get back for a short rest and a nap. Before getting off at our stop, I told CY to coordinate with me if there was any dinner plans. Once we got off at our stop, we bought some instant noodles, drinks and tidbits from the underground subway mall in case we got hungry later.

The moment we reached our apartment, we both hit the bed for a short nap. Fatigue had got to both of us. After catching a few hours of shut-eye, CY texted me to say that he would be meeting up for dinner with Yan Leng and Jeanie and asked if I wanted to join. My wife was still feeling exhausted and told me to just go on my own instead. I was reluctant cos I wasn't sure which train to take and which subway exit to alight. All this while I've just be leaving it to her. She told me it was time to grow up and learn! But thank god she drew a map and wrote all the details on which subway lines to take and names of the stops. I supposed she didn't want me to end up in North Korea!!

I met up with CY and his wife near Insadong. They apparently didn't go back after the Common Ground visit but did some sightseeing on their own. We decided to find some restaurant nearby for dinner as all of them were due to head back home the next day. While waiting for Yan Leng, Jeanie and their spouses, we scoured the nearby restaurants and found one which we would try. Soon enough the rest of the gang came by and we headed up for dinner.

It was a decent dinner and after the usual banter, it was time to head back. The rest of the gang had to pack up as they were leaving for home the next day. My wife and me still had basically two days left so I bid everyone farewell and made my back to the subway on a very, very cold and windy night.

Day 7

While we still had two days to go, we considered this our last day in Seoul as tomorrow would mostly be spent packing up, checking out and heading to the airport even though we had a late evening flight. So we planned to make the most of the day but not without a little drama before the start of our tour.

We woke up early to make the most of the day and while we were having a quick breakfast, we noticed water pooling on the floor under us. We were startled and the first thing we thought was the washing machine was leaking as we had a load running in the machine. Upon a quick check we discovered that it was leaking from the unit next to us. Someone must have left the tap on or there was a leaky wall pipe or something.

Our flooded hall

The water was beginning to pool up quite a bit and no matter how much I tried to contain the flow, it wasn't helping much. I knocked on the door of the next door unit but no one was around. Crap, I thought, we had plans for the day. I messaged the owner and he told me he was in Vietnam and would only be back later that night but assured us he would get his daughter to come over and sort things out. He was very apologetic and luckily the unit next door also belonged to him.

A little over 10 minutes later, his frantic looking teenage daughter was at the door and upon seeing the pooling of water in our hall almost went into a fit of panic. She could speak a smattering of English but it was still hard to understand her. Eventually we managed to communicate through Google translate (Thank you Google!) and she got the door codes for the unit next door from her dad and upon opening the door, the entire place was filled with water from a busted kitchen pipe! It was like a swimming pool in there. That explained the water leaking into our unit through the walls.

The poor girl was in a state of shock and didn't know what to do. I decided to step in and help her or we won't be able to do anything for the day. I located the mains, switched off the supply and told her that she needs to get a plumber or at least contact the maintenance people to sort things out now that the main leak had been stopped. Now that she was more calmed down, she told me she would sort this out and I told her we would be going out as we had plans. I gave her permission to access our unit anytime to do what needs to be done and she said not to worry, everything would be in order when we came back.

So off we went to start our day. Good thing we didn't lose too much time. My wife had warned me that there would be some walking required (little did I realize how much walking that would be) even though we only had three places planned on our sightseeing list and I told her I was up for it. But before we hit the subway to head to our first stop, we had to grab a picture of the unique bus-stop with toilet bowls as its seat. The bus-stop just happened to be a 5 minute walk away in the Toilet accessories area where they sell nothing but toilet stuff.

When you gotta go, you just gotta go!

After some pics, we headed to our first stop on the list, another of the Goblin K-Drama location shoots. This time it was the main coffee-shop in Coffee Prince drama series. After several subway stops, we arrived at Hongdae (Hongik University Station) and proceeded for a walk to the coffee shop direction. Before that though, we came to a park called Gyeongui Line Forest Park, it was formerly an old railway line converted into a long 6.3km park!! We spent some time here taking in the beauty of the place. The sun was out but surprisingly it was one of the coldest and windy days we've experienced since we were here. Good thing we were adequately bundled up.

A small section of the 6.3km Gyeongui Line Forest Park

This area was quite different in ambiance from the previous days. It was more 'small townish' like with little quaint little shops littered between buildings. We were also feeling a little hungry, the cold tends to make us hungry a lot. We looked for a shop to fill our now growling tummies but none were open. We finally discovered that the eateries here mostly only opened after 11am. There was still at least another 45 minutes to go! There were 24-hour eateries but they didn't serve the kind of breakfast food we were looking for and they were also exorbitantly priced.

Hongdae

We decided to head on towards the Coffee Prince shop location and grab something there, since it was a coffee shop after all. It took us about 20 minutes of so of slow walking to finally reach the location. When we finally arrived there, we were in for a shock cos the place looked really shabby and very uninviting. The place looked disheveled and abandoned like even though there were some people inside and a sign was posted outside that said only shop customers can use the toilet and take pictures! We felt so unwelcome that we decided to not even go in but sneaked in a few shots from outside before heading off to look for food.

The shops were still closed even at 11am which got us both a little pissed. Even one that we found open at 11am said they were not ready for customers. So we walked back towards the subway station still on our search for food on this extremely cold morning. Our tempers were raw from lack of food. Just as we were about to give up hope of ever getting anything to eat here, we came across an All American diner that was open for breakfast.

We were both too hungry to matter anymore and decided to grab a bite there till we find something later on in the day at our next stop. The food was surprisingly good and after filling our tummies, we were off to our next stop for the day, the MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation) park. According to my wife, that was one of the locations where The Avengers Age of Ultron was shot. With me being a diehard Marvel fan, that place was not to be missed!

To get there, we had to take a subway ride to the Digital Media City station and take a short walk there. The Digital Media City place had a totally different feel from the rest of the places we've been. It had a more modern and high-tech complexes for digital technologies, housing ubiquitous networked offices, apartments, exhibitions, conference halls and cultural centers in Seoul. All the people we passed by were of the young professionals dressed in suits and ties.

The futuristic buildings adorning the Digital Media City vicinity

I never knew that the Avengers had a scene filmed here and when the wife pointed it out to me, I instantly recognize the scene and almost bolted into a sprint straight to it. Yes, yes, I can be like a child at times! I'm not sure how she digs up all this places and unknown facts but heck, she's amazing when it comes to finding places for us to visit. Once we were done with pictures there, we took a tour of the place. They had some amazing gigantic structures around and like the tourists we were, we took lots more pictures.

Part of the location shoot from Avengers Age of Ultron!


By this time, we had been on our feet for quite a while and last on our list of places for the day would be the Haneul Park or Sky Park, just across the road from the Seoul World Cup Stadium. It was a ways off and we both debated on whether to walk or take the bus there. Since the weather was pretty cold even with the sun and we wouldn't even think about walking anywhere so far back home, we opted to walk. We reasoned that we could see more places along the way. Though my feet were more or less killing me, I tagged along, not that I had a choice, I didn't know the way back ... hahaha! My wife can be a very determined person and once she said she wants to walk, she will walk. I remember the loooong walk we did back in Kyoto in search of Nanzenji temple. But it was during those long walks that we discovered gems like the unexpected trail path in Higashiyama, the Ama No Iwato cave and so many more.

One of the gigantic structures found around the Digital Media City

It was a pretty nice walk and we were chatting and admiring the beauty of the place. Aside from the two of us, there really wasn't all that many people walking about. Guess not everyone is as crazy as us. After quite a while, we saw what was a huge hill in front of us and deduced that it was the place we were heading to. Google maps was also pointing us in that direction. But as fate (or arse luck) would have it, the entrance to Haneul Park was at the extreme other end which from where we were looked to be about a thousand kilometers away (ok, that was my battered legs talking). We plodded on cos my wife said, we didn't walk all this way just to give up. Who am I to argue, like I said, I didn't know the way home.

Finally after what seemed like a 100km ultra, the Seoul World Cup Stadium loomed just ahead and we were finally there. I breathed a huge sigh of relief only to be told by my darling of a wife not to get too comfortable cos we had like hundreds of steps to navigate to the top! Goddammit!


The Seoul World Cup Stadium

After a short break at a small convenience store cum cafe at the foot of the climb, we slowly made our way up to the nearly 300 flights of steps. Now, on a normal day, stairs are always difficult for me but after a marathon, double that difficulty by a factor of 100! But I have to admit, the view as we made our way up was spectacular. The entire Han river was slowly making its presence felt as the climb got higher and higher. We finally got to the top where the view was truly breathtaking. On one corner was the magnificent Seoul World Cup Stadium and on the other, the majestic Han River. We took a moment to savour the view and my wife said, she had another surprise for me and that this was really what she wanted to see in the park.

The long and winding climb up!

As tired as I was, my curiosity was piqued. I followed her along a path that branched out into a road even higher up which had lots of cyclists either struggling determinedly up or zooming like mad down the steep road. I was afraid for them cos the road was really steep down, Once we reached the extreme top of the park, my wife pointed to me what looked like a weave-like basket structure in the distance. I gave her a look that said, 'this is what you dragged me all the way up here for?'. The structure didn't look at all spectacular and surely not something I would be wound up about but how wrong I was. That didn't dampen her spirit one bit but dragged me even faster to the structure!

I climbed up here to see this wee tiny basket?

As we neared the structure, I began to see the artistry and beauty in it. It was huge, not gigantic or anything but huge. It was constructed to look like an amphitheater with decks you could climb on that led you to the top for an even more spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding area. This place was ripe for some spectacular vain shots and I wasted no time in whipping out my camera. God bless this woman, she knows me and my conceitedness so well that she picks the best spots and places for my vain shots! Once we were done with soaking up the place, we made our way down slowly to head back for home, by this time, my Garmin fitness data has indicated we had walked nearly 13km up to this point! We still had a ways to go before we reached the apartment.

The interior of the amphitheater like basket!


As we walked down, the view of the Han river was mesmerizing. We both unanimously agreed that we would return and this time stay nearer to the river. It was a vow that we will be both definitely be fulfilling one day. Our subway stop was along the World Cup Stadium and it was a ways off. We made our way there slowly and just before we reached the subway, we came across a somewhat wholesale like market which we decided to explore. Our tummies were already hungry from the long walk and climb in the cold.

The place was selling all kinds of fresh vegetables and local delicacies. There was also a hypermart like grocery store in there selling all kinds of stuff at some unbelievably cheap prices. My wife bought some brownies that she bought in Myeongdong a few days back but this time at a much cheaper price and I couldn't resist two bottles of Soju, again at a price so much cheaper than what I've been paying for the past few days. Sadly we only found this place on our last day or I would have bought crates of Soju and take showers with them. They were that cheap!



Once we were done, we finally got on the train that would take us home. We were both exhausted but satisfied that we covered quite a huge chunk of sightseeing for one day. We were also extremely famished and once we reached our stop, I remembered that we had passed a few eateries just opposite our apartment on the first day we got here. We made our way there and found a small fried chicken shop where the owner mistook me for an American (LOL) until I corrected him that I was from Malaysia instead. At least there was at least one Korean who thought I looked like an American! We ordered a meal of a mix fried chicken and beer and wolfed it down like starving animals before making our way across the road back to our apartment.

We were both bracing ourselves to see if our apartment would resemble a fish tank full of water but to our surprise, everything was in perfect order. The owner's daughter was true to her word and the place was spotlessly clean. She even washed and dried all the towels we used to stop the water flow and even cleaned the bathroom for us. I was speechless but grateful that she did all she could to make our stay a pleasant one.

Our cleaned up room awaited us when we got back

I heard some activity from the next door unit (the walls are kinda thin over here) and went over to see if everything was in order. I saw the owner there with a maintenance guy trying to figure out which main I had shut off earlier as there were many valves in there and when he saw me he was so apologetic about the entire affair. I was more thankful that he was so efficient and accommodating and after showing him which one to turn on again, I could see the relief on both their faces.

After a short chat with him where I discovered his flight had just touched down and he came directly from the airport to the apartment building to make sure everything was in order. From day one even before I flew to Korea, he had been extremely helpful and right up to the day I was leaving, he was as helpful as ever. I would even say that he made sure our stay wasn't ruined by the drama earlier in the day. Kudos to him and I highly recommend his place to everyone.

It had been a long day but we still had some packing to do before we called it a night as we were checking out the next day. Once the packing was done, we both dozed off in mere seconds from fatigue!

Day 8

We woke up pretty early on our final day in Seoul. Our flight was scheduled to depart around 3:50pm and we wanted to get a head start without having to rush. We took our time packing up the final bits of gear we had, cleaned the room, we didn't have to but it's something that we always do no matter where we go. We believe to return the place as close to how we got it. With that all out of the way, we headed to the subway to take the long train ride to the airport. I was sad to be leaving the place. While Korea has its moments, I loved the place. We didn't nearly have enough time to see everything but what we brought back would last a lifetime.

My last vain shot in Korea before boarding the plane for home!

We reached the airport, stowed our luggage in a locker since we still had lots of time to spare and got ourselves some very late lunch and just chilled till it was time to check in. Since we didn't check in our luggage, we were done in no time and was soon on the shuttle to the departure hall and ready to board the plane back home. No matter the disastrous outcome of my marathon and one or two minor incidences, I still had an amazingly good time in Seoul.

Thanks for the memories, Korea! #iseoulu

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SAUCONY® FREEDOM ISO NAMED OUTSIDE GEAR OF THE YEAR WINNER IN SUMMER BUYER’S GUIDE 2017

“The Freedom’s Addictively Smooth Transition Had Us Reaching For It More Than Any Other Shoe We Tested”

WALTHAM, MA (May 11, 2017) – Reflecting a continued commitment to industry-leading innovationglobal performance running footwear and apparel brand Saucony is proud to announce that the Freedom ISO has been selected as a “Gear of the Year” award honoree in OUTSIDE’s 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The Freedom ISO, Saucony’s most technologically advanced shoe ever created, was reviewed in the Buyer’s Guide road running shoes category and is recognized as one of 14 top-tested products that boldly stand out among competitors. The 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide is on newsstands now and at OUTSIDE Online on May 23.

The Saucony Freedom ISO is the first-ever performance running shoe with a full-length EVERUN™ midsole. Combined with Saucony’s dynamic ISOFIT™ system, the Freedom ISO delivers the one-two punch of Saucony’s award-winning tag-team technologies.


“Freedom indeed,” said the OUTSIDE Buyer’s Guide review of the Saucony Freedom ISO. “The Freedom epitomizes this year’s broader trend, blending the energetic style of minimalism with the cushioning and foam of the fattie era. The Freedom’s addictively smooth transition had us reaching for it more than any other shoe we tested.”

“By far, the most liberating shoe I tried,” said one OUTSIDE Buyer’s Guide tester about the Freedom ISO.  “It’s hard to pick just one thing that stands out about this shoe−it has it all,” said another tester.

“The whole Saucony team is honored to be recognized by the OUTSIDE Buyer’s Guide with this prestigious award,” said Doug Smiley, business unit manager for Saucony running. “The way we see it, there’s progressive innovation and then there’s innovation that’s pushed to the leading edge. With the Freedom, the Saucony team has delivered a leading-edge running experience that’s unlike anything before. It’s EVERUN unleashed, designed to make you want to run, while fully enjoying the feeling that you could actually run forever.”

“With each season’s outdoor products becoming more and more advanced, this year‘s summer roundup has been our most competitive yet,” said OUTSIDE Buyer’s Guide editor Will Egensteiner. “Hours of research have been devoted to perfecting the 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide and finding our ‘Gear of The Year’ winners.”


Availability:
The Freedom ISO is available at select specialty run retailers and at saucony.com in men’s sizes 7-13, 14 and 15, and women’s sizes 5-12. The suggested retail price of the Freedom ISO is $160.00.

To find a retailer near you, call 800-365-4933 or visit www.saucony.com.

About Saucony: Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, Inc.(NYSE: WWW), is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals.  Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including EVERUN™, ISOFIT™, Geometry of Strong™, PWRGRID+™, and the Total Run System™ apparel line. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to www.saucony.com.

About OUTSIDE: OUTSIDE is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. Since 1977, OUTSIDE has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world outside. The OUTSIDE family includes OUTSIDE magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside+ for the iPad, Outside tablet edition, Outside Books, and now Outside GO, a revolutionary, 21st-century adventure-travel company. Connect with OUTSIDE online, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

SHARON BARBANO
PUBLIC RELATIONS
SAUCONY & WOLVERINE BOSTON

T. 617.824.6126
F. 617.616.6126

500 Totten Pond Road
Waltham, MA

FIND YOUR STRONG

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Seoul Sightseeing: Days 3, 4 & 5

A catch up for Days 1 & 2 can be found here.

Day 3 started with another shakedown run along the Cheonggyecheon stream to do a final gear test before heading back to the apartment for a shower and get ready for our day's adventure. My wife had planned a trip to the Ihwa Mural Village and we wanted to get started early.

Aside from a quick cup of coffee, we both skipped breakfast and headed out to the subway station to find the correct trains that would take us there. I wasn't worried about that cos I knew my wife would have had all that figured out. On hindsight, skipping breakfast was a bad idea which I'll come to later.

We boarded the train from Euljiro station to Hyehwa Station and walked towards Naksan Park that led us towards the Ihwa Mural Village. The weather was pretty decent that morning, cold but not bitingly so. We had planned to find something along the way for breakfast but couldn't find anything and decided that we'll grab something to eat later. Now, I'm a total grouch and can get very annoying when I don't have food in me. I was already feeling irritable.

Finding the correct path to the Mural Village was not an issue. Armed with only a map and some jottings from her research, my wife knew exactly how to get there and we found the entrance to it after a short 10 minute walk. She would tell me what to expect and it was spot on every time. Sometimes I think she has been to Seoul before!

"Perched at the very top of Mt. Naksan, Ihwa Mural Village is an unlikely attraction in an unlikely setting. Only a decade ago, the neighborhood was set for demolition to clear away what was considered an aging and unattractive slum to make way for new development. Today, it’s a lively and thriving neighborhood that welcomes artists and visitors while still preserving the charm and intimate bonds of its long-standing and tight-knit community."
- Imagine Your Korea

You can already see the incline of the road up towards Mount Naksan!

Some of the lifelike murals outside the resident's dwellings.

Ihwa was basically a tourist spot which was filled with people from all over wanting to take pics with the many murals and art deco littered around. While I found this place interesting and presented loads of picture-taking opportunities, I was feeling cranky from lack of food. The fact that the place was perched on a hill made me even moodier. 

The long stairs up that we skipped.

People were actually queuing to take pictures of some of the more popular murals
most notably the 'Wings' graffiti.

Now, my wife knows all the signs when I get into one of my moods but remained upbeat. We stopped at every mural and did what tourists would do, snap away. Being in the state I was in, I wasn't too cooperative with the picture taking. She finally got fed up of me and asked me if it was that time of the month! With me being a buzz kill, we decided to go look for food and abandoned our touring not even halfway through it. 

Some of the creative statues along the path up to Mt. Naksan.

Small little shops selling arts and craft along the climb in Ihwa.

So off we went leaving Ihwa in our wake with my wife making a vow that she would be back here one fine day again and cover the entire area. We took a walk along the main roads looking for some eatery but nothing of interest came about and we ended up getting some stuff from a convenience store and sitting down in a small garden like enclosure overlooking the road. The weather was beautiful to be outdoors so it was really kinda nice just sitting there and watching people go about their ways.

The architecture looks more European than Asian.

After our short food break and with slightly filled tummies, and in a much better mood than I was earlier, we headed to the nearest subway station and took a train towards Anguk for the filming location of my wife's current K-Drama series obsession - Goblin!

After a short walk from the station, we arrived at Unhyeongung Palace, which was fronting the Goblin's house or mansion thingy. Since there were no entrance fees, we decided to go in and check the place out. The palace was beautiful on the inside giving you a taste of the old Korea and we spent a few minutes here taking pictures. Then it was off to check out the Goblin location shoot building which I came to find out was actually part of a school. According to my wife, it's one go-to place for the Goblin series fans.

Inside Unhyeongung Palace. Never one to miss a vain running shot opportunity. 

We walked into the area, was a little unsure at first cos there were some signs in Korean that we didn't understand. Something was amiss as we nonchalantly walked into the compounds as people were giving us the stares. Just as we got towards the said building, this caretaker or something came running towards us with arms crossed like Ultraman about to unleash his super laser ray and was saying something in Korean to us.

After he got nearer, we found out he was telling us to stop and to leave the place. We were a little taken aback but turned around and left anyway, but not before I got a quick shot of the building for my wife. So rude, we thought but once we reached the gate we realized that this was a school and parents were sending their kids to classes and we were actually intruders. That explained the stares. After checking the signage again, it was discovered that no tourists were allowed in. Okay, our bad. I wouldn't want strangers simply walking in my kids school so I understood the alarm.

Managed to get a quick shot of the Goblin K-Drama location shoot of the building from the outside.

After chastising ourselves for not being more aware of signages, we headed off towards Insadong, which was just a short walk away from the street across the Unhyeongung Palace. I was keen to see Insadong, this was a place I was a little more aware of having read about it before we arrived in Korea.

"Insa-dong, located in the heart of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display. There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries and traditional restaurants, teahouses, and cafes. The galleries are the heartbeat of Insa-dong. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures." 
        - Imagine Your Korea


The entrance into Insadong.

Insadong reminded me of our very own Jonker Street in Melaka. The main street is blocked off to traffic every weekend and stalls are set up outside the shops selling all kinds of stuff such as trinkets, crafts, local candies, souvenirs, food and the likes. We took a stroll along the streets and our hunger pangs came on again. This time, we decided to look for something to eat as eateries were in abundance here. We found a nice quaint shop in a basement of a building and sat down to chomp on our first real meal for the day. The meal consisted of sliced pork and huge giant dumplings that was actually very delicious.


These dumplings were really huge unlike the ones back home and really delicious.

Once we were done, we were energized and continued our stroll along Insadong. We stopped to look at stuff and I was even video interviewed by some Korean University students on assignment on why I picked Korea as my destination, hopefully I'll be famous in some University over here ... hahaha!

A holiday is not complete without a picture with one of the locals.

Wifey wanted to find the Ssamziegil Mall which was just around the corner. Ssamziegil Mall could be described as 'an Insadong within Insadong'. It was a unique artsy kind of mall that was connected to each level in the form of a spiraling walkway with 70 plus shops selling all kinds of handicrafts and souvenir items that included art galleries and restaurants. The place was packed with both local and tourists having a great time shopping or simply browsing for stuff.

'Ssamziegil Mall - 'An Insadong within Insadong'

We browsed around, bought a few stuff and made plans with Choon Yuen for dinner with the rest of the gang who arrived earlier in the day. Since we were already out and it was close to dinner time, we didn't bother heading back and just hung around the area instead until meeting the gang at the pre-planned location.

We stopped by McD's to buy some time while waiting and I grabbed a quick pre-dinner meal of some Bacon burgers. All that walking and the ever decreasing night temperature making the place chilly was making me constantly hungry. After the quick bite, we met up with the rest of the gang and found a barbeque place nearby for some hot dinner which turned out to also be both Choon Yuen and my birthday treat by Jeanie and Yan Leng.

After 'cutting' our ice cream cake, we all headed back to our respective apartments but not before making plans to meet up at the Jamsil Sports Complex the next day for our race kit collection.

Our 'birthday cakes' :D

Day 4

We woke up early and this time time we made ourselves some instant noodle so as not to repeat my annoying and irritable state of mind the day before. We headed down to the subway station which was just under our apartment. The subway below us actually housed an underground mall that catered to everything from inkjet printing (which gave me the idea that I could find a job here), clothing, shoes, mobile phones, some restaurants, convenience stores and lots more.

The train schedules in Korea are pretty accurate, just like in Japan and every train arrived on time. The train ride to the Jamsil Sports Complex took about 25 minutes or so and we arrived much earlier before the gang. The moment we exited the subway and walked out to the amazing view of the iconic Olympic Stadium in front of me, my excitement level increased. I've only ever seen the stadium in pictures and here I was actually looking at it in real life! It also brought not so happy thoughts that I'd be slogging through the streets of Seoul tomorrow before I finally reached here again.

A surreal feeling being outside the Olympic Stadium!

Since we were early, we headed to grab some drinks and snacks nearby before messaging the gang that I'd meet them at the race expo just ahead. The race expo is literally a new thing for the Seoul International Marathon. Prior to two years ago, there was no such thing as a race expo. Participants just walked into the organizer's office to collect their kits and that's it! At least now, they have an expo.

It wasn't a big race expo, in fact it was incredibly small scaled compared to the likes of Kyoto and Gold Coast but I was thankful that they had an expo. The gang finally arrived and we all made our way to collect our kits which was hassle-free. We were done within minutes and then it was checking out the various booths around and taking pictures.


I managed to get myself an Adidas event tee which on hindsight was the best thing I ever did cos we all didn't get any Finisher tees at the finish line. Aside from the finisher medal, this event tee was my only other reminder of my race here.


My wife wanted to visit some place called Apgujeong Rodeo to see the Gangnam Dolls lining the roads and the gang decided to tag along and grab some food there together. It was a short train ride to to Apgujeong Rodeo. This area was high class, somewhat like the Beverly Hills of Korea. From the cars, to the shops, to the people on the street, everything reeked of the upper class. We were all hungry and decided to find food first before doing anything else.

We walked into Galleria mall just ahead and decided to have something at the food court there. As I said, this place was upper class and when we got down to the food court we were kinda shocked as the definition of food court in this mall was more like fine dining, not something we were looking at. So we made a quick exit and headed out down the road towards some shops looking for something to eat.

Fooling around in Apgujeong Rodeo

We eventually found a shop in one of the lanes and came to a decision to grab something here cos the cold weather was making us really famished. We entered the shop and didn't know what to order so we just ordered what everyone was having. You know the saying, when in Rome and all that ...

When the food arrived we were a little skeptical that it would fill us up or even taste good but to our surprise, it was absolutely satisfying and utterly filling! Never judge a book by its cover is something we should all remember. We had something called Budae Jjigae or also known as 'Army Base Stew'. The dish originated during the Korean War, and was popular for a time afterwards, when people had little to eat. It combined leftover Spam and hot dogs from U.S. Army facilities with whatever else was available. All the leftovers were mixed with water in a large pot and boiled.


After filling our tummies, my wife brought us to another place on her list of places to see. It was a short walk away and called the Apgujeong Rodeo Graffiti Tunnel. The tunnel was lined with graffiti by the locals that was tastefully done and led towards the beautiful Han River. Loads of cyclist were using the tunnel to head towards the river which had a nice long loop around the river. It was actually just ripe for a run but with a marathon the next day, we weren't up to try it.


Part of the graffiti lined tunnel

We savoured the view of the Han river and tried to deduce which of the two bridges we saw in the distance we would be running across tomorrow. After nearly an hour or so, we made our way back to the subway station but not before my wife dragged me along to look for the BTS Gangnam Doll. And as fate would have it, it was basically the last doll at the end of the road! I also managed to get a picture with the Girls Generation doll just to spite Choon Yuen ... hahaha! I'm a Wonder Girls fan myself but since they disbanded, this was the best I could do!

With the Girls Generation Gangnam Doll.


The view of the city along the Han River.

Once we were done, we all headed back and decided to rest up since it was going to be a long tough morning of racing the next day. My wife and me bought some food stuff from the subway station for our dinner since we wouldn't be going out anymore until the next day. We mostly lazed around the apartment and after getting my gear for race day laid out, I called it an early night while my wife stayed up to catch some local show on TV.

Day 5

This was it. It was race morning and one of the reasons why I'm in Korea in the first place. I didn't really sleep well the night before. It's the same with any race I'm running overseas (probably pre-race jitters) but I was well rested nonetheless. After getting dressed and a quick breakfast and good luck wishes from my number one fan, I was out the door heading to race start.

I'm not going into the race details again, so you can read my race report here. After the race, I headed back to get some rest and a nap since anyone who runs a marathon would know that sightseeing is the last thing anyone would want to immediately do.

Photo rights belong to Photosports.

But strangely as tired and exhausted as I was, I just couldn't get a proper nap. The body was still winding down from the race and ached in every conceivable part. I messaged Choon Yuen on dinner plans later as we planned to meet for our usual post race dinner. We planned to meet at Insadong and revisit the barbecue place CY and me had on the first night. My wife also wanted to visit Namdaemun market and Namdaemun Gate which was a short walk away from Myeongdong.

"Opened in 1964, Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea with shops selling various goods. All products are sold at affordable prices and the stores in this area also function as wholesale markets. Most of the goods are made directly by the store owners. Namdaemun Market is crowded with retailers from all over the country. When day breaks, the site of busy shoppers bustling around the market creates a unique scene that attracts tourists worldwide. Namdaemun Market sells a variety of clothes, glasses, kitchenware, toys, mountain gear, fishing equipment, stationery, fine arts, accessories, hats, carpets, flowers, ginseng, and imported goods."
Imagine Your Korea

Somewhat like our very own Petaling Street.

Namdaemun market was reminiscent of our own Petaling Street but much cleaner. We browsed the market checking out the items on offer and bought some street food to munch on as we strolled along the length of the market before making our way towards the Namdaemun Gate, a majestic looking palace like structure right in the heart of the city. It really was majestic with the lights on and backed by the more modern structures of the city. After the usual picture taking, we headed off to meet the gang for dinner which was as yummy as the first night we had it. After lots of banter and complaints about the race, we all finally adjourned back to our respective apartments for some much needed rest. It had been a long, long day!

The beautiful and majestic Namdaemun Gate.

Coming up, Days 6 & 7.