North Korea, which has walled itself off from the rest of the world, has not reported a single case of Ebola virus since its outbreak in West Africa killing about 9,000 people. In order to maintain the record, the hermit kingdom has banned foreign athletes from participating the international marathon to be held in April over Ebola scare.
The Pyongyang Marathon, also known as Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, is an annual marathon race held in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, since 1981.
Regardless of how historic and popular the event is, North Korea is not planning on opening the borders that have been closed to foreigners since last October due to Ebola fears, reports Reuters.
It has also imposed a strict 21-day quarantine rule for foreign aid workers and diplomats, who have been told to stay in embassies.
"Our North Korean partners in Pyongyang contacted us this morning with news that the 2015 Pyongyang Marathon has - as of today - been closed to amateur and professional foreign runners," Nick Bonner, director of Beijing-based Koryo Tours, told Reuters.
Another popular tourist event in North Korea, Mass Games, which features thousands of athletes and schoolchildren in tightly choreographed displays, was also banned without any explicitly stated reason.