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Photos: North Korean marathon confounds after a week of war talk

Lauren Alix Brown

Amid threat of thermonuclear war, North Korea is celebratory in advance of its most important holiday of the year, the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung, celebrated on April 15. Today, through the streets of its capital city Pyongyang, runners from 16 different countries participate in the 26th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon.

Earlier this week, North Korea cautioned visitors to evacuate and warned diplomats that their safety was not ensured in what appeared to be preparations for a missile test. However, tourism is still being encouraged.

US secretary of state John Kerry is in South Korea hoping to promote a dialogue, while North Korea has staunchly refused.

The race begins and ends in the Kim Il Sung Stadium. Other celebrations surrounding the holiday include a film festival, outdoor dance parties and a parade.

Here are photos from this year’s race:

Cars with timing clocks wait for the start of a marathon to begin at Kim Il Sung Stadium. AP Photo/David Guttenfelder Hostesses and a TV cameraman at Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang. AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan Marathon runners pass by a North Korean soldier. AP Photo/David Guttenfelder Over 600 local North Koreans were expected to enter the race in Pyongyang. AP Photo/David Guttenfelder North Korea’s Kim Mi Kyong is awarded after winning the women’s race. AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin

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