Foreign runners, amateur and professional, will no longer be be able to participate in the Pyongyang Marathon 2015, scheduled to take place in April this year.
The turnaround comes as the committee in charge of the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, as it is also known, has received no word yet from the DPRK government on when Ebola-related restrictions on inbound travel will be lifted. They had earlier been operating under the assumption that the restrictions would be lifted in time for the marathon.
Andrea Lee, CEO of Uri Tours, a US-based provider of North Korea travel, explains to Shanghaiist, “The government body that has imposed the Ebola related travel restrictions is separate from the Marathon Committee, and has not been very forthcoming about its plans for re-opening the borders.”
Travel agencies like hers have taken a hard hit because they have not been able to bring any tourists in to North Korea since October, when the Ebola restrictions kicked in.
Runners who have earlier registered for the marathon may now apply for refunds or opt to have their credit applied to a future tour.
The Pyongyang Marathon was held for the first time in 1981, and opened for international runners in 2000. This year’s marathon will be its 28th edition.