Katchi Kapshida, "We Go Together:" Seoul Int'l Marathon
Being stationed in Korea can afford one the opportunity to visit incredible historical sites like the must see DMZ, Korea War Museum and the Inchon landing for any military history buff. There are countless sites to see and activities to do all across Korea. These awesome adventures range from observing Seoul from the YTN Seoul Tower, finding your inner peace at any of the many Buddhist temples across the peninsula (like the Beomeosa Temple), staying the night in the Seoraksan Mountains and hiking, swimming at Haeundae Beach, snow skiing, and shopping in Myeongdong or Itaewon. These are but a few of the various activities throughout one’s tour here to break up your long hours of work and training exercises. However, unbeknownst to those who do not venture out in Seoul, there are miles and miles of highly maintained paths networked along the Han River that provide near infinite opportunities to exercise, run and bicycle.
In the USFK J35, there are both United States (U.S.) and Republic of Korea (ROK) leaders and planners who work together to maintain current up to date plans to ensure that the armistice conditions remain relevant and in effect. This work facilitates an environment based on teamwork and solidifies the camaraderie that ROK and the U.S. military members have had for over 60 years. Late last year, numerous planners found out at least one other thing that they had in common, running. MAJ Russ Foster had mentioned that he was running the Seoul International Marathon on 16 MAR 2014, which is 26.2 miles aka 42.195 km, to a joint group of planners. Even though many folks talked about doing it, only a few of us actually committed to this run by signing up for it and training for it by doing long runs during the weekends.
The USFK Rear Area Plans (RAP) cell decided to do this run with one of their ROK co-worker battle buddies. Hence, Alex Magg and Gary Repp signed up with Sinbak Kang (ROKA) to represent the spirit of “Katchi Kapshida”which means “We Go Together” in Hangal and prove that this section is always prepared to “Fight Tonight.” LTC Kang says this run is significant to him as it is his first full marathon and he is excited “to join together with MAJ Magg,” who is also running his first full marathon. Both of these fine officers are helicopter pilots by trade and are the oldest members of the group. MAJ Magg was first here in Korea as a Warrant Officer back in 1989 on TDY flying Chinooks to support operations and training. He laughingly says, “Flying the marathon would be much easier but I am willing to suffer a little like my fellow peers who are ground guys and walk for a living, just this one time.” As a former competitive swimmer, he commented that “these types of events are ones that really test an individual to push themselves to a limit and over-coming that is what makes one stronger all around.” Well said, from an excellent leader and highly respected officer, who has an innate ability to think outside the box when working on a task. This is a big year of ‘firsts’ for him with this marathon as well as expecting a baby girl in about two months. MAJ Repp speaks highly of the work that the RAP section does and noted, “This is a great work environment, let alone an excellent experience by getting to work directly with the ROK military.” He is excited about this event saying, “though marathons are a tough event both mentally and physically, this one will be unique as it is an International Marathon and I will be running with it with a few friends and ‘Old Man Magg’ on his first marathon. I will remember this event forever. Yata.”
In addition to the aforementioned, joining this team of runners is SFC Daniel Brunick, whom is certainly the fastest runner in the group, has ran competitively in the past and has completed many marathons, ultra marathons and most impressively, he ran a full marathon in an EOD bomb technician suit. Another runner in the group is a friend of MAJ Repp, MAJ Paul Yocum, who has worked with the CJ35 during Key Resolve and he is member of the Seoul Flyers Running Club.
Event day: All of us who ran the marathon completed it and received the finisher’s medal. MAJ Repp and LTC Kang were looking to cross the finish line together but MAJ Repp shuffled ahead on the last 1K or so, just barely beating his co-worker. We were all proud to be able represent our Army along side with our ROK Army counterpart at this great event here in the Republic of Korea.