MIRC runs in Korean War memorial race
By John Redmond
MANNAM International Running Club (MIRC) entered the Korean War Memorial Race en masse at Seoul World Cup Stadium. The race was to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, a war which, technically and tragically, continues.
The event offered a 6.25-kilometer (a distance representing June 25), a 10-kilometer and a half marathon course. As a group, MIRC mobilized its members for the event due to its relevance in terms of its wider goals of promoting peace and fellowship. MIRC comprised the largest non-military group that participated.
Ninety percent of the participants were military or ex military. There were representatives from the Korean Army, United States Forces Korea and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to name but a few. There was the usual, and impressive, pomp and ceremony with brass bands, martial arts displays all brought to a crescendo with a flyby of iconic Huey and Black Hawk helicopters.
By the time the races began at shortly after 9 a.m., it was quickly developing into a very hot Seoul summer's day; the mercury and humidity continued to rise through the race. One by one, MIRC members crossed the finish line spent forces, to the ever-increasing cheers of those who had finished. By the end, the sun was witheringly hot, the atmosphere saturated with humidity and utterly airless.
It is hard to imagine now that South Korea, with all its present day wealth and prosperity, had a destructive all-out war on its own soil well within living memory and less than a generation after it had been colonized by Japan. The human cost suffered by Korea was immense but while the South has recovered, north of the Demilitarized Zone, the catastrophe continues.
MIRC’s event motto is “Every Stride for World Peace.” It seems that just putting one foot in front of another is not going to make anybody lay down their guns. How can we ever hope to live up to this motto? In the television series “The Ascent of Man,” mathematician and biologist Jacob Bronowski stood in the pond at Auschwitz where the ashes of millions of his fellow Jews had been flushed. He crouched down, his face a picture of dignified grief, took a handful of the tainted mud from the bottom, and said pointedly to audiences across the globe, “We have to touch people.”