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South Korea Running Group 88 Seoul Runs For Social Change

Alison Désir speaks with Jihye Kim, a member of the Seoul, South Korea-based running group 88 Seoul.

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Members of 88 Seoul

Meet 88 Seoul’s Jihye Kim

Before last year’s TCS New York City Marathon, I received an email from Jihye Kim, a member of a running crew in South Korea called 88 Seoul, who was coming into town for the marathon (her first ever) and wanted to know if she could run with Harlem Run. Of course, I told her. Harlem Run is for everyone–from Harlem locals to friends around the globe. The Monday after the marathon, Jihye celebrated with us and shared the highs and lows from her marathon experience. We hung out that night, promising we’d run together again and that she would always have a home with us in Harlem.

Related: The Harlem One-Miler Race Is One To Check Out

Fast forward to January 2017: as I was making preparations for Run 4 All Women, Jihye reached out to say that she and several women from 88 Seoul were inspired and interested in hosting a solidarity run. The movement was not just inspiring women in New York and the U.S. to use running as a vehicle for social change: it was reaching women around the globe! Led by Jihye, women from 88 Seoul gathered on a cold night in January to show solidarity for women’s rights with a run through the streets of Seoul.

When Jihye learned that we were continuing our efforts and launching a national event series in August, she once again reached out to lock in her participation. On Aug. 6, the women of 88 Seoul will once again lace up to show their support. I am excited to share more about Jihye Kim here: an incredible and collaborative woman who truly understands the power of community.

Interview with Jihye Kim

Years running: two

Running crew: 88 Seoul (named for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games hosted in Seoul, Korea)

How did you start running?

One of my friends recommended running because, after several years of doing yoga, I wanted to do some active exercise.

How many races have you run? What’s your favorite distance?

The first race was the 2016 Seoul International Marathon for 10K. Since then, I have participated in more than 10 races, including the TCS New York City Marathon, which was my first marathon.

I enjoy running 7 to 8K around the Han River in Seoul. There are perfect running courses along the river.

How long have you been a member of 88 Seoul?

I have been a member of 88 Seoul for 1.5 years.

What do you love most about 88 Seoul?

Being together with members of 88 Seoul! They always support me and cheer me up. [Having the] 88 Seoul cheering squad on the road is awesome.

What made you interested in hosting a solidarity run in January and again this summer?

I was inspired by Harlem Run delivering such a powerful message about women’s rights through running. Running is not just exercise, it is a kind of tool to communicate to the world and makes anything possible.

The solidarity run in January was a special experience for me. Even though we were far from New York, we ran together, in a sense, for the same goals. I would like to run together again and hope more runners in Seoul know how much we can make possible through running.

How can runners join you while in Korea?

To join 88 Seoul, including the solidarity run on Aug. 6, send an email to

Is there anything else you want me to know or want to share with the world?

Compared to other cities, Seoul is small in size–but it is big when it comes to running. You can easily find the old and new faces of Seoul, and in this regard, running in Seoul is always cool. If anybody has a chance to visit, I recommend running in Seoul.


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