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Marathon (2005 film)

File:Marathon Poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Jeong Yoon-cheol
Produced by Seok Myeong-hong
Lee Seung-yeop
Shin Chang-hwan
Written by Yoon Jin-ho
Song Ye-jin
Jeong Yoon-cheol
Starring Jo Seung-woo
Kim Mi-sook
Lee Ki-young
Music by Kim Jun-seong
Cinematography Kwon Hyeok-jun
Editing by Ham Sung-won
Nam In-ju
Distributed by Showbox
Release date(s)
Running time 117 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$33,284,089[1]

Marathon (Hangul: 말아톤; RR: Maraton) is a 2005 South Korean film directed by Jeong Yoon-cheol, and starring Jo Seung-woo, Kim Mi-sook and Lee Ki-young.[2][3] It received 5,148,022 admissions, making it the 4th most attended Korean film of 2005.[4][5]

Based on the true story of Bae Hyeong-jin, an autistic marathon runner,[6][7] the film popularized the South Korean term for autism (Hangul: 자폐증; RR: japyejeung) which can be translated as "self-closed syndrome."[8][9]


A young man with autism, named Cho-won, finds release only in running. As a child, Cho-won regularly threw tantrums, bit himself, and refused to communicate with others—finding solace only in zebras and the Korean snack, choco pie. His mother never gave up on him and was determined to prove to the world that her child can be normal. As Cho-won gets older, he begins to find a passion for running and his mother is there to encourage and support him. Even though their family suffers from financial difficulties, they find a former marathon champion, Jung-wook — now a lethargic older man with an alcohol problem.

Jung-wook, who is serving community service hours as a physical education teacher for a DUI, grudgingly accepts the offer to train Cho-won in marathon running, but eventually becomes lazy with him. The coach often takes Cho-won's snack, and takes Cho-won to a jjimjilbang to relax. Even though Jung-wook slacks off most of the time, Cho-won's determination for running is firm (he accidentally runs 100 laps around a soccer field when the coach told him to without literally meaning it).

He takes third place in a 10 km running race, which causes his mother to set another goal for her son: to run a full marathon under three hours. This is not an easy task, however, as Cho-won wants to win but doesn’t know how to pace himself. Therefore, his mother pleads the coach to run with Cho-won in order to teach him how to pace his running. The movie shows the emotional struggles of a mother who is not sure if she is forcing her son to run or if it truly is his passion. The movie further explores and shows deep love and genuine purity through Cho-won.


  • Jo Seung-woo - Cho-won
  • Kim Mi-sook - Kyeong-sook, Cho-won's mother
  • Lee Ki-young - Jung-wook
  • Baek Sung-hyun - Yun Jung-won
  • Ahn Nae-sang - Cho-won's father

Awards and nominations

2005 Grand Bell Awards[10]
2005 Pusan Film Critics Awards
2005 Blue Dragon Film Awards
2005 Korean Film Awards
2006 Baeksang Arts Awards


A Japanese drama remake of the same title (マラソン) aired on TBS on September 20, 2007. It starred Ninomiya Kazunari in the lead role.


External links

  • (Korean)
  • Internet Movie Database
  • at HanCinema
Preceded by
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
Grand Bell Award for Best Film
Succeeded by
The King and the Clown

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