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Jeju marathons: A guide to running on Jeju

How to navigate running on the island.

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Jeju is a great place to run, as long as you don’t mind a challenge! The volcanic island slopes upwards from the coast to the top of Hallasan Mountain, meaning that wherever you run you’re sure to see a lot of elevation.

You could always head to the coast for some flatter paths. But then the challenge is dealing with the island’s famous winds, a factor that has left me feeling humbled on the return leg of many a run.

The weather is the other challenge, with the super hot and humid summers regularly hitting plus 30 degrees, even in the evening.

With all that said, I still love running on Jeju. The island’s scenery, whether inland or on the coast, is beautiful, and the mild temperatures in fall, winter and spring mean you’ll have no issues running all year round if you have the right gear.

Jeju marathon and race guide

There are several races held every year on Jeju that anyone can sign up for and join. These are concentrated during the spring and the fall, due presumably to the extremes of weather found at other times of year.

The races are typically held with multiple distances at the same. There will be a full and half marathon, plus often a 10K and a 5K too. This means there’s a chance for anyone to enter any of the races, no matter their specialty.

Jeju running tip 🏃

The word marathon in Korean refers to any kind of distance race. So you’ll see races described as marathons even if they are actually half marathons, 10 km, or pretty much any other distance.

Most of the organized races that I know about are road races, but there is also a UTMB trail event. In the list below, I’ve added all the races plus the date they will be held in 2024 or, for those without confirmed 2024 dates, the dates were held in 2023. The races won’t necessarily be held on the same date in the future, but they are usually at a similar time of year at least.

Jeju MBC International Peace Marathon

This race opens the running season in spring. It’s run by TV channel MBC and with around 3,000 participants across all distances in 2023 is one of the most popular runs. The race starts in Hallim, a town on the west coast of Jeju, and follows the coast along until the relevant turn point.

It’s a relatively hilly course and the final stretch back up to Hallim Stadium is particularly brutal. This year there is a half marathon and a 10k race.

When: The race will be held on March 31, 2024

Distances: Half marathon, 10k

Official English language website

Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival

This race takes place at the end of May in Gujwa on the island’s northeast coast. The race starts at the area’s stadium and follows the coast until the turn-back point, which depends on your race distance.

The course is relatively flat and the coastal scenery makes for an enjoyable run. But there’s also a high chance of wind which on the wrong day can make the race much tougher than it would otherwise be.

When: The race will be held on May 19, 2024

Distances: Half marathon, 10km, 5km

Official English language website

TransJeju by UTMB

This is Jeju’s most prestigious trail race. It takes place in a beautiful part of the countryside on the southeast of the island and makes the most of the island’s hilly terrain and walking paths.

The biggest challenge of the 10km race is Keunsaseumi Oreum, a steep hill that hits an altitude of 295 meters and comes in the 7th kilometer. The longer races go further with the full 100km course tackling the summit of Hallasan Mountain, which is 1,900 meters above sea level.

When: The 2024 race will take place on October 12-13

Distances: 100km (4,020 meters elevation gain), 50km (2,110m), 20km (420m), 10km (200m)

Official English language website

Beautiful Jeju International Marathon

This race takes place in October and is run by a local newspaper called Jeju Sori. It starts at the same place as Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival and follows either the same or a similar path. The main difference is that the event doesn’t include a full marathon.

When: The 2023 race was held on October 22

Distances: Half marathon, 10km, 5km

Official website (Korean language only)

Jeju Mandarin Inernational Marathon

The Jeju Mandarin Marathon is the last of the season (at least that I’m aware of). It takes place in November and in 2023 will be held in Jocheon on the North east of the island. It travels along the coast and goes past Hamdeok beach, one of Jeju’s best beaches.

When: The 2023 race was held on November 19, 2023

Distances: Marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km

Official English language website

Editors note: This article was originally published in September 2023, but has been updated with 2024 race dates. We’ll keep updating it as more dates are confirmed.

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Duncan Elder

Duncan first came to Jeju in 2011. The plan was to stay for six months. 11 years later, he's still here and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the island on Inside Jeju.