North Korea, well known for being ahead of the global enlightenment curve in (oh) so many ways, announced over the weekend it’s barring foreigners from participating in this year’s Pyongyang marathon due to fears over the spread of Ebola. The announcement, disappointing to dozens, came via a regional tour company specializing in North Korean excursions.
The BBC inadvertently summed up the impact of the decision. “The marathon, one of the year's most popular events for tourists, takes place on 12 April,” the BBC notes. “Last year's race, which also included a 10km (6 mile) race and a half-marathon, was the first time the event was open to foreigners and an estimated 200 people from around the world took part.”
ICYMI: Over the weekend, North Korea has banned foreign marathoners from the 2015 Pyongyang Marathon amid Ebola fears pic.twitter.com/DP8lJuJNyK— ESPN Endurance (@ESPN_Endurance) February 23, 2015
“While no cases of Ebola have been reported anywhere near North Korea, the country shut out foreign tourists in October with some of the strictest Ebola regulations in the world,” the Associated Press reports.
If you’re curious to know what it on earth it’s like to run a marathon in North Korea check out Will Philipps’ account in Slate of participating in the 2014 event.