To commemorate the 120th anniversary of Korean immigration to the United States, the L.A. Korean Relay Marathon, which follows the trail of historic sites in Koreatown, will be held on May 20.
Organized by the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA), runners will start from the Korean American Community Center at 2 p.m. on May 20 for a 3.5-mile run to Angelus Rosedale Cemetery and the KNA Memorial, then catch a 5 p.m. bus to Wilders Addition Park in San Pedro for a one-mile run to the Korean Friendship Bell. L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office is providing four buses for the event.
“At the 120th anniversary of Korean Americans in the United States, we thought it would be good for the general public to remember the history of Korean American immigration, so we organized a relay marathon for anyone to join,” said James Ahn, president of KAFLA, at a press conference on May 3.
“It’s not about winning, but about getting as many people as possible to participate in the event and to recognize the history of Korean immigration,” he said, adding, “You can walk instead of running. We want it to be a fun event for first- and second-generation Korean immigrants, adoptees, North Korean defectors, and people of other races.”
The event is free of charge, and participants will receive T-shirts, snacks, and souvenirs. Parking is available at the Koreatown Plaza.
“We are excited to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Korean Americans in the United States,” said Sonya Young Jimenez, superintendent of the Department of Recreation and Parks. She added, “We will be there to help as much as we can on the day of the event.” The general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks is Jimmy Kim, a second-generation Korean American. He will be attending the opening ceremony.
Ji-Eun Kim, a Field Deputy for the 12th District, and Evette Kim, a Deputy for Constituent Services and Special Programs, also said, “We are excited to support the event in Koreatown. We look forward to helping ensure a safe and successful event.”
“We will be deploying emergency teams, including ambulances, along the marathon course to ensure the safety and well-being of participants,” said Emile Mack, former Chief Deputy of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. “We hope to see many people running and walking on this day.”
The Korean American Relay Marathon will be held in other states as well. Next week’s event, organized by the Korean American Association of Chicago, is expected to draw 600 runners. The Korean American Society of Kentucky organized one last weekend, which was well-received by the community.
“We are sharing event ideas with other Korean-American community presidents who are thinking about organizing events for their local communities, so communities from different regions are also taking part in it,” Ahn said. “The presidents of Korean-American communities around the states have a Korean American Presidency Council Meeting in Washington D.C. early June, so we’re planning to run together then.”
BY NICOLE CHANG [email@example.com]