Asian Premier Marathons Staged in Seoul

March 18, Seoul - The world’s first ever continental marathon event league Asian Premier Marathons (APM) ushered in the opening race of the 2018 calendar year during Seoul Marathon. APM series officially kicked off the start of its inaugural 2017-2018 season at the 2017 Beijing Marathon.

After a perfect debut in Beirut Marathon back in November, APM returned to East Asia today. This is the first time APM has come to Seoul. Eventually, Kenyan athlete Wilson Loyanae Erupe, the race record holders and Damte Hiru from Ethiopia won the men's and women's title with the results of 2:06:57 and 2:24:08, respectively. Kim Jaehoon and Kim Doyeon, both Korean nationals, were the fastest man and woman among all Asian runners. The results were 2:13:24 and 2:25:41, respectively, significantly raised the bar of the best result of Asian runners in the APM series this season.

The Oldest Asian Marathon Finishes the APM Premiere

Asian Premier Marathons (APM) is jointly established by Infront China, a full subsidiary of Infront Sports & Media, one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, together with Beijing Marathon, Beirut Marathon and Seoul Marathon under the leadership of Asian Athletics Association (AAA). Starting from its official launch ceremony held in July 21, the first race of the inaugural season 2017-2018 of APM series successfully kicked off in Beijing Marathon 2017 on September 17. The first season is followed by Beirut Marathon 2017 which finished in November last year. In the calendar year of 2018, after its debut in Seoul Marathon, APM will return to Beijing Marathon to end the 2017-2018 season.

The Seoul Marathon, which was the third race of the 2017-2018 season in the APM series, was first held in 1931. It has gone through 89 years of glorious history. It is one of the oldest marathons in Asia and even in the world. It has many historical moments and left a great footprint in the world history of the development of the sport of marathon, and occupies an important position. Since 2010, the Seoul Marathon has won the title of "IAAF Gold Label" race for nine consecutive years and has ranked among the world's top marathon events. As the only IAAF Gold Label event in Korea, Seoul Marathon became one of the founding members of the Asian Premier Marathons in 2017 and became the pride of Asia.

The Seoul Marathon shows the world the unique charm of Seoul's history, modernity, tradition and fashion. Through this platform, runners from all over the world get to know of the sport of marathon and Seoul's urban culture, feel the charm of Seoul, and deepen their understanding of Korea. After joining APM, professional athletes and mass runners from Asia have paid unprecedented attention. This year, a total of elite runners from 12 countries and regions, and more than 20,000 mass runners from 62 countries and regions have signed up. The competition was broadcast live in 112 countries and regions around the world through platforms including the CCTV Sports Channel in China.

"Little Berlin" in Asia, "Treasure Place" for Runners’ Personal Best

The whole course of the Seoul Marathon is very gentle. It starts in March with comfortable temperature and comfortable humidity. The event is well organized and the course supply is sufficient. It is the “treasure place” for runners to achieve good results, and it is regarded as the fastest race in Asia, thus the nickname of "Little Berlin". This reputation has made the Seoul Marathon always attract the participation of the world's top runners. The overall level of the Seoul Marathon, which is driven by a long list of elites, is high. In 2012, it broke the fastest record of marathons in Korea with a first ever sub-2:05 finish in the history, opening up a new era. The best result of the women's side for the race was created by Chinese athlete Zhou Chunxiu in 2006.

2018 is not only the year of Winter Olympics in Korea, but also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Seoul Olympics. Therefore, this year the Seoul Marathon also incorporates more elements of the Olympic Games in terms of course design. The game starts from Gwanghwamun, the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, the hometown of Koreans, and passes through several iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty Lee, the South Gate of South Korea, and the ancient riverside Cheonggyecheon crossing the Seoul metropolitan area. The course then goes all the way to the southeast, eventually crossed the Han River and reached the final destination - the 1988 Seoul Olympics main venue Jamsil Olympic Stadium. The whole course is beautiful along the way. The runners can enjoy the scenery during the race which help them relax. Unlike many big-party style marathons, many participants of the Seoul Marathon are Korean runners who like to enjoy running quietly. The strict and detail-oriented race style and “serious” atmosphere of the race create a great opportunity for the “serious runners” to achieve their personal best.

The "biggest challenge" of the entire course is considered to be the Jamsil Bridge in the 37-38 km range. This part is on the symbol of Seoul - the Han River, and runners will encounter strong winds on the bridge. Whether the speed distribution in this area is balanced or not has become the key to testing the runners.

Tailor-Made Grand Prize for Asian Athletes

In order to stimulate active participation and best performance from Asian athletes, APM established a dedicated ranking system for Asian full-marathon runners with prize money attached. The first to fifth place top Asian runners in every race in APM series will obtain 19, 12, 7, 3, 1 points respectively. Each season, top two results in the APM series will be allowed for the ranking and the total score of each athlete is the amount accumulated from his/her two best results in the current APM season. The top 3 men’s and women’s (6 in total) will share the prize of $500,000, with 1st place getting $160,000, 2nd place getting $60,000, and the 3rd place getting $30,000. APM aims to raise the competition level and international appeal of marathon events in Asia as well as attract more runners to take part in the series.

After Seoul Marathon, the 2017-2018 APM series ranking now stands as follows:

Men

Women

Rank

Athlete

Result

Accumu. Points

Rank

Athlete

Result

Accumu. Points

1

Zicheng Li (CHN)

1. 2:17:36 2. 2:18:23

38

1

Yinli He (CHN)

1. 2:42:53 2. 2:57:23

26

2

Kim Jaehoon (KOR)

2:13:24

19

2

Lihua Gong (CHN)

1. 2:46:56

3. 2:31:05

24

3

Shin Kwangsik (KOR)

2:14:05

12

3

Kim Doyeon (KOR)

2:25:41

19

3

Yousheng Guan (CHN)

2:23:33

12

3

Eunice Chumba (BRN)

2:28:38

19

3

Hussein Awada(LIB)

2:34:14

12

4

Chirine Njeim (LIB)

2:45:00

12

4

Natsuki Terada (JPN)

2:15:09

7

5

Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (MGL)

2:31:12

7

4

Ma Wan (CHN)

2:24:06

7

5

Chung Yunhee (KOR)

2:47:01

7

4

Zaher Zein Eddine(LIB)

2:39:00

7

6

Choi Kyungsun (KOR)

2:33:07

3

5

Andrey Petrov (UZB)

2:15:17

3

6

Jin Mingming (CHN)

2:49:23

3

5

Mou Zhenhua (CHN)

2:24:46

3

6

Nisrine Njeim Leene (LIB)

3:07:32

3

5

Nicola Marta(LIB)

2:39:27

3

7

Ahn Byul (KOR)

2:33:54

1

6

Shim Jongsub (KOR)

2:16:55

1

7

Yugui Ma (CHN)

2:51:45

1

6

Munkhbayar Narandulam (MGL)

2:25:32

1

7

Nadine Kalot (LIB)

3:17:37

1

6

Bilal Awada(LIB)

2:41:42

1

-

-

-

-

In addition, APM also has a ranking and awarding system for all Asian runners, integrating the full marathon results of its member races, so that runners will be able to compete with peers from all over Asia in the same age group.

"The inaugural season of the Asian Premier Marathons attracted a wide range of attention from all parties in Asia. It attracted a large number of top Asian runners, and achieved the broadcasting and communications of all the races in the home country of all APM members. APM has completed the first step of its healthy development." said Mr. Wu Hongtao, head of APM program in an interview with reporters, "We are very confident that in 2018, with the guidance and help of the Asian Athletics Federation and the Chinese Athletics Association, we can continuously bring the Asian Premier Marathons to the next level in various aspects, such as its scale, penetration and awareness, commercial development and international influence, and present a better Asian Premier Marathons in the world marathon stage, bringing more glory and pride to runners across Asia."

Next, APM will move to Beijing in September this year to welcome the end of the 2017-2018 season.

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About Asian Premier Marathons

As the first ever continental marathon league in the world, Asian Premier Marathons (APM) is jointly established by Beijing Marathon, Beirut Marathon, Seoul Marathon and Infront China under the leadership of Asian Athletics Association (AAA). The new league aims to raise the competition level and international appeal of marathon events in Asia as well as attract more high-level Asian athletes to participate in top-tier APM events.

As the inaugural season of APM series, 2017 – 2018 will start with Beijing Marathon 2017 on September 17, followed by Beirut Marathon 2017 and Seoul Marathon 2018, and finish with Beijing Marathon 2018. Top 3 men’s and women’s Asian runners (6 in total) will share the USD500 thousand prize. Moreover, APM member events will jointly set a ranking and awarding system for all APM runners.

For more info, please visit APM website www.asianpremiermarathons.com.