Unni Kim

Interview with Unni

UnniWhat do you do for a living?
I am a graduate student of the Dept. of Asian Studies at UBC. My research interest involves how and why people talk about linguistic politeness in society. I’ve been a teaching assistant for the Korean language courses at UBC.

Where did you grow up? What is your background/history?
I was born in a very small town in South Korea. I moved to Vancouver in 2008 for my studies. Why Vancouver? When I was looking for a postgraduate institution to study the Korean language in a sociolinguistic context, UBC was the only place fitting for my interests. Having no guarantee for my funding, I left Korea with a worst-case scenario in my mind about coming back to Korea if nothing worked out. Six years have passed quickly, and I am still living here happily. We will see where I’ll work in two years. Hopefully, somewhere on this planet.

How long have you been running?
I don’t remember exactly. Maybe, sometime in 2009? But it was not until the end of 2012 when I started running over 10K every week. I joined a local run club in Tokyo where I was on an exchange program. There I discovered the joy of running together!

Favourite running experience?
Drinking a sip of water after running. To me, this is the best way to enjoy and appreciate a glass of water.

Advice to newer runners?
Whether you run fast or slow, have fun with running! The rest of things—making friends or improving your speed—come naturally as time goes by.

How did you find out about Frontrunners?
Coming back from Japan last September, I wanted to join a run club as I did in Tokyo. So, I Googled any running group in Vancouver. VFR/Walkers was ideal for me in terms of time and location although it took several weeks to gain the courage to show up at the meet-up place.

How long have you been a member of Frontrunners?
I guess it has been over 5 months so far.

What do you like best about Frontrunners?
I love their enthusiasm for running or walking, rain or shine (or snow). I like exchanging high-fives with them at the end of the Burrard Bridge. I also like the strong sense of community bounded by support for each other.

Least known fact about you?
I can be very shy, but none of my close friends seem to believe me.

Favourite thing to do when you are not working (or running)?
Hiking or walking in the woods. I also like cooking and eating with friends.

What is your biggest running accomplishment and what are your running goals or aspirations?
I finished my longest run (42.2K, 4:05:47) in my life just a few days ago at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, 2014. I was very happy to be able to run without losing smiles throughout most of my run. When I crossed the finish line, the first thing that occurred to me was that I couldn’t have made it without the support from a lot of people. They supported and believed in me when I was not so sure about myself. It was quite an amazing experience. I have two goals that I want to keep in mind when I run. First, run at your own pace. Second, enjoy.