24 Feb

North Korea Marathon Bans Foreigners

Pyongyang MarathonNorth Korea did little to change its isolationist image as it announced that it is to ban international runners from competing in this year's Pyongyang Marathon. Organisers cited concerns over the Ebola virus as the primary reason behind the move.

The marathon, held on 12 April this year, allowed foreign amateur runners to take part in the race for the first time last year.

Beijing-based travel agency, Koryo Tours, posted on its website: "We are sorry to announce that we have been informed by our partners in North Korea that no foreign runners - amateur or professional - will be allowed to participate in this year's Pyongyang Marathon."

The Ebola outbreak, originating in West Africa, has killed more than 9,000 people but there has not been one incident of the virus reported in North Korea or any surrounding countries. North Korean state media has previously suggested the disease was created by the US military as a biological weapon.