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Korean Olympian Lee Bong-ju on Persistence and Why He Loves the NYC Marathon
He started with the odds stacked against him. But through determination, he became a legend in his country.

he is a cultural icon: He finished second in the marathon in the 1996 Olympic Games, and first at the 2001 Boston Marathon—a moment he calls his proudest.

Lee Bong-ju: I faced a lot of handicaps. People usually start from elementary school, and reach their peak in their 20s; my peak was later. I couldn’t start in another sport or challenge another sport. For soccer or baseball, you need uniforms, and our household couldn’t afford those things. The cheapest sport was running and track. You can do track anywhere, with anything.

In high school, I started track. There was no coach, the student athletes did everything. The fastest kid was the leader and did long distance. From home to school, I started running to save money for the bus. I started running 12 kilometers (approximately 7.5 miles)every day without fail......-------

70-Year-Old Ohio Woman Runs Insanely Fast Marathon in Chicago

Born in Korea, Rice settled in the U.S. in 1968, when she was 19. After a trip back to Korea to visit family in 1983, she unexpectedly gained seven pounds. “You go to visit cousins and aunts, and they think we are starving in America,” she said. “It’s a feast every time we go. We had to eat to be polite. I came home, I’m 5-foot-2, and I’m a little chubby. I wanted to lose those few pounds.”

She took up running, at first just wearing tennis shoes. She quickly found she was good at it, and with minimal training, she was soon placing in her age group in local races.--------

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