Seoul Trail Course #2

26 December 2014 | Seoul Trail | Trail Running | 13km – 3:00 Hours

“Whose dog is that?”

So it was the day after Christmas and what better way to spend the day off than with Seoul Flyers doing a bit of trail running? Jacky and I were still trying to complete the elusive “Seoul Trail”.  We had 9 stamps remaining and planned on picking up two more today and completing Trail Section #2. The remaining portion was only 13km and Jacky invited anyone else who may want to come since it wouldn’t be too long of a distance.


We ended up with 8 starting but we picked up an extra “member” on the course (which I’ll discuss later). The eight consisted of Jacky, Tony and myself (our normal crew). Then newcomers Sarah, Dave, his son (whose name I can’t remember), Paul and Claire.  Jacky and I were of course early at the link-up point at Subway Station Hwarangdae exit 1. Sara was the first to show up and then Paul and Tony. We had to wait a bit for Claire (who forgot to brush her teeth and had to go back) and Dave and his son went the wrong direction on the subway and had to turn around.

Ultimately we all were accounted for and did a quick safety brief. The course would be full of snow and ice from the recent bad weather we had. We wanted people to keep a pace equal to the slowest person. We also wanted to run the flats and down hill as possible and walk the uphills with a quick regroup at the top. Fairly simple in practice but as soon as we started Tony was off like a rocket! It wasn’t too bad initially because the roads were fairly clear but eventually we started encountering patches of ice and had to slow down.  Once we reached the actually trail area we really started to hit icy areas that had been covered by trees and hills and hadn’t seen much sun. No one had fallen yet but the morning was still young!

After about an hour and a half of run-walking we were nearing the half-way point and our first stamp booth. At about this point we managed to find a nice wide trail and were able to do more running than walking. As we continued on the trail this medium sized white Labrador mixed breed came running up from behind us. His coat was dirty but he had a collar and looked like he was well nourished. He was fairly young and full of energy and ran playfully along with us. I figured his master was nearby and he would eventually call him… Boy was I wrong. He stayed with and we were so enamored by the dog that most of us passed right by the stamp booth at the rest station and started climbing the stairs up to the top of the hill. We trudged on for a bit before it dawned on us that A. The Dog didn’t have his master here with him, B. People were starting to think it may have been our dog since he was running with and being petted by us and C. Jacky, Paul and Claire were nowhere to be seen. It was here as we stopped and looked for Jacky and the others that Sarah had taken off her gloves and was looking in her rucksack. The dog quickly snatched up one of Sarah’s gloves thinking it would make a nice chew toy or a meal (I wasn’t sure of which). Fortunately for the dog Tony being the ever vigilant Safety officer that he is. Quickly put the dog in a neck bar and retrieved the glove from his slobbery maw and returned it to a very happy and relived Sarah.

We waited a bit at the rest stop and I tried to call Jacky while at the same time she was calling Tony to see where we were. Tony handed me his phone and Jacky asked, “Where are you guys?” I told her just up the stairs. She said, “You didn’t see the stamp booth?” That’s when it hit me, I had looked right at it and didn’t even realize it. She also told me that Claire and Paul had taken spills on the ice. I went back down with Tony to link up with them and get Sarah’s stamp booklet stamped. Amazingly the dog was still with us when we all got back together. Once we had time Jacky started telling us about Claire and Paul falling. She said, “They were just running along at a slow pace and moving down a slight decline. Claire thought since Jacky and Paul were able to run down she would follow suit instead of walking that’s when she slipped back and fell on her but.” Jacky and Paul waited for Claire to get up and Claire said, “I saw you guys running,” and Paul said, “Well I have trail shoes on”, and not ten seconds later Paul took the corner and did a face-plant. He had a nice little bruise on his cheek that he could tell his wife about the bear he had to fight. As for the dog (we nicked name Cujo),  He actually covered the remaining 6km with us. He would run ahead and look back at us almost like he was our tour guide and wanted to ensure we passed safely over his “mountain”. A few times we thought we had lost him but sure enough he would pop up either ahead of us or next to us. Once we got on the back side of the hill he stopped, took a last look at our group and then he shot back up the hill leaving just as mysteriously as he had come.

Once we reached the entry way of the park we spotted the last Stamp Station. We quickly got our stamp books completed and moved down the way for some final pictures and a celebration at a local coffee shop near Gwangnaru Station, where we all departed from. All in all it was a great event!


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