“Life is like a marathon, and I felt that if I gave up halfway through, my husband and I, who are both blind, would have too much to give up in our future life together. I didn’t want to give up without trying, so I finished safely this year.”
On the full course of the 2023 Chuncheon Marathon (co-hosted by Chosun Ilbo, Sports Chosun, and the Korea Athletics Federation) on the 29th, Kim Jong-nyeo (59) participated with her husband, Park In-seok (61), who is also blind. The couple started running together in 2017, after her husband lost his sight completely. In 2009, Mr. Park went to the hospital with severe vision loss and was suddenly diagnosed with acute glaucoma. She gradually lost her vision, and by 2016, she was blind and unable to go out on her own. At the height of her career, she had to quit her job.
Ms. Kim, a nurse, said that after work, she would always pick him up, hold his hand, and take him on a steady 5-kilometer walk around the neighborhood. He and his wife continue to practice running in the evenings, enjoying the sound of footsteps, the breeze, and the smell of grass. However, Park said he gained nearly 20 kilograms in a year because he was stuck at home. “My husband doesn’t show any signs of depression, but I was worried that he might be suffering from something, and that his health might suffer due to his rapid weight gain,” Kim said.
Kim, an avid marathon runner, took her husband’s hand and started practicing running with him to encourage him. They started with a 100-meter run and gradually increased the distance. In 2019, the couple competed in a 10-kilometer marathon together. Before she lost her sight, Park said, “I didn’t think I could do all that running,” but now she’s hooked on the sport. She joined a running club and runs with members every Sunday. “I think running has actually made my husband more talkative and more active,” Kim said, “and now he’s the one who asks me to go for a run first.” Mr. Park said, “When I was in my prime working age, it was very hard for me to let go of work, but thanks to my wife, I’m fine now, and I’ve found the energy for life.”
Last year, the couple participated in the full Chuncheon Marathon together. Their time was 6 hours and 5 minutes. At the 12th kilometer, Park wanted to give up, but Kim convinced her to continue. “We’ve come as far as the half course,” Kim said, “so let’s run just a little bit longer because we have to go back. When her husband said his legs were tingling and he felt like he was going to get a rat, Kim would make a “meow” cat sound to threaten the rat. Kim kept encouraging him, saying, “Let’s go together, not alone,” and they completed the full course together.굿모닝토토
Their time for the full course was 6 hours, 10 minutes, and 26 seconds. “Our goal was to finish, not to reduce the time,” Kim said, “and I’m glad we finished safely and with more ease than last year.” Park said, “I don’t think I can continue to run the full course like my wife because it’s too hard after about 35 kilometers, but I’m going to try the full course a few more times first.”
Ms. Kim smiled and said, “I am fortunate that I can exercise my husband because I can run, and I am grateful to my husband for running with me.” Ms. Park said, “We run hand in hand every time, and I am grateful and happy that he suffers so much for me.” “Congratulations on being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I hope we can run together for a long time in good health,” she said.