Nike Women’s Half Marathon – Far East edition for foreigners.. Seoul, Korea..

I ran my 12th half marathon!!  The Nike Women’s Half Marathon was an extra special race because I was running it with two friends who had never run a half marathon before and I can remember freaking out with excitement and nervousness when I ran my very first race.  These girls were amazing, showed up on race day ready to run all 13.1 miles.  We all prepared differently and since it had only been three weeks prior to my last race, my training is always a little messed up.  It’s more psychological than anything and believing in yourself and your body to be able to take on such a challenge.  If you do what I do and just start signing up for races with little time between events, it’s basically letting your body recover and putting in miles to keep your legs fresh, leading up to the next race.

{race registration}

I’m super delayed in writing about this race but I really wanted to highlight the event since it was pretty hard to even find information in English.  Registration began on April 25th on the Nike website so that was barely 4 weeks prior to the race.  So if you weren’t at least trying to train for a race, the time in between for a newbie runner was extremely limited.  I’m not really sure why the event was so delayed in signing up so close to the race date, but at 10AM, my friend who speaks Korean and could navigate the weird firewalls was able to register all three of us!  It was a little crazy because we finally figured out that if you have a account, you had to register under your username and password.  There was a 5,000 max on a first-come, first-serve basis, so my nerves were all over the place until I got the confirmation.  To put it in perspective, after about an hour or so, I became registrant number 4522.. of 5000.. talk about cutting it close!  It definitely sold out that day because the next day you couldn’t click on any of the links to register.  Since I was being registered as a “foreigner”, my friend had to pay the 40,000 korean won ($35) for me a few days after the registration once I got the link to pay.  I’m still confused on how these races work with payment and such, but that’s how this particular race went.  I was SUPER excited to even be signed up for the Nike race!

{packet pick up}




To get your official bib with timing chip and swag bag we were to pick up our packets at the Nike store in Gangnam.  I went on the very last day before the race but you had about a week and a half to get it.  I found the store using Google maps and it was pretty mellow considering it was the day before the race.  They had two stations set up.  One to get your packets and another to design your own race day shirt!  I never wear the race day shirts, but we were required to wear them for this race (although some got exceptions).  I was able to add a little extra flare to try to make mine as different as possible since it’s a pretty standard shirt.  On the back I added “shut up and run”, “we run Seoul” (written in Korean in the back center), and “Seoul” on the side of the shirt.  I actually ended up liking the top and I was glad I sized up, even though it was an actual Nike shirt, it fit a little more snug than normal (Korean sizes).  I was in and out of the expo within 20-30 minutes.

{the flatlay}




{starting line}

I met up with my girlfriends before the race, which started at 8AM.  I took the subway (highly recommend) to Bongeunsa on line 9, exit 6.  Since we had to walk past the starting line, we got a glimpse of the elite runners and I’m seriously jealous of their bodies.  These ladies were made for running.  I feel like they are so aerodynamic that they just glide through the air.  They were running sprints to warm up.. We decided to take pictures instead..





The race only had two real waves and I’m not even sure it was separate.  Once the elite runners took off, I think the remaining women did as well.. This was a huge bottleneck.  We all ran shoulder to shoulder for a good two miles.  I had the hardest time breaking away, more than any race I’ve ever run before.  It was then I knew a PR wasn’t going to be on the horizon.  I had some other issues going on that made me a little cautious in putting in my all (got sick AND tweaked my back the week prior and didn’t want to exhaust or hurt myself further – I was just determined on finishing the race).  The course had us crossing two major bridges, which I now realize is one of my favorite things to do in Seoul.  It’s the BEST views of the city and it was such clear blue skies that day, I was just taking it all in.  It was pretty hot, so every single water station, I made a stop to take down H2o.  I packed two GU gels and my rationing is I take one at mile four and mile nine or ten depending on how I feel.




{pushing through the heat}

Mile 11 came.  This is where it hurt the most.  One of my friends was still running along side me at this point and I turned to her and said “two miles.. we can do just two more miles”..  Those were some hard ass miles.  The finish line couldn’t come soon enough and the sweat dripping from literally everywhere was becoming gross and only gets worse the second I stop running.  I just have to tell myself that I’ve been running for so much longer and the extra mileage is nothing. . . what’s an extra maybe 20 minutes?  Just tricking your mind into these shorter times is what gets me through mentally.  But also Justin Beiber.. lots of Justin Beiber..  I mean Despacito, am I right???



{we run seoul.. thank goodness for the end}

And my official time was 2:15:52.  Not anywhere near a PR, but also not my worst.  Considering I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do the race a few days before, I was still really proud of being able to cross that finish line and grab my medal.. which actually got handed to us!  Not typical in Korea if you read my last post.  So the elephant in the room, and why you’re probably here to gain some insight on the race.. there was no Tiffany necklace.  I don’t think this was the normal Nike Women’s event that occur in the states, i.e. San Francisco, where you get whisked away by some strong Fire Fighters handing out the pretty blue and white wrapped boxes with pretty little jewelry inside.  This was co-sponsored by JTBC, a local run club in conjunction with Nike.  Upon some research, I don’t think Nike actually put on their normal Nike Women’s Half Marathon in any city/country as they’ve done in the past with the luxury bling as the medal.  Sad, but still such a cool event and definitely another top favorite race in Seoul.  The finish line was at the Olympic Park, Seoul and the post race festivities were definitely aimed at women.. skincare stations to help make you look like you didn’t just run 13.1 miles and ice block cooling stations to chill those tired legs..  We hungout for a loooonngggg time in the area just soaking it all in… because we were soaked… (see what I did there? cheese much?).  This is my last race for the season, because for those of you that don’t know, Korea’s heat in the summer can cook eggs on the cement and the humidity levels alone will keep you inside.








For the well deserved calories after the race, we walked to bills in Jamsil for some brunch (pretty sure that was another mile away).. corn fritters and coffee never tastes better than after a race… sweet victory..



If you have any questions regarding this race or running in Korea, please leave me a comment!  If you have tips on running in extreme heat.. comment below, because I would love to still be able to run outside and not put in a ton of miles on the dreaded treadmill.  If you have a favorite shoe to run in, share details, I wanna know!  See you on the road!


{running gear details}

Tech Tee (provided for the race) – Nike (similar)

Shorts – Graced by Grit

Sports Bra – Nike

Shoes: Adidas (Adidas Marathon 10)

Compression Calf Sleeves: CEB 

Handana: here..

Ipod: Apple Shuffle.. always..

Waist Belt: Fitletic

Watch: Nike+ powered by Tom Tom

Gels (not pictured): GU

2 thoughts on “Nike Women’s Half Marathon – Far East edition for foreigners.. Seoul, Korea..

  1. “shut up and run”…love that on the shirts! Why am I not surprised that they made everyone wear the she same thing?…lol. I think its pretty cool they kept it a smaller race too! Nike Women’s Half SF and also Lululemon’s Seawheeze is 25K+…just massive. Great read as always! xo

    1. Holy moly that’s a lot of people. The biggest one I ran was my first in Vegas and that was over 30K people.. It took forever to get through all the corrals, but it still was spaced out pretty good where you could run. It was impossible to breakaway during this race.. intense! Thanks for reading girl! xoxo

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