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By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With all the headlines involving North Korea and the United States, how about a lighter side?

Lowell Thompson is 78 years old, he loves to run and he has very good reason to stay active in it at this time of his life. This winter he found a race in North Korea.

In October, Lowell Thompson lost his wife of 54 years, Barbara, to colon cancer. He got some advice.

“One thing they said is keep busy and socialize,” Thompson said.

For Lowell, much of the time has been spent doing what he loves. Competing. He’s a senior Olympic sprinter.

[graphiq id=”l0KEJhra8Dj” title=”North Korea” width=”600″ height=”748″ url=”” ]

“It’s been fun. There’s nothing like the adrenaline when you’re at the starting line lined up next to some other guys,” Thompson said.

But his greatest race came this winter. Not a sprint, but a 10K in North Korea. He was part of a group that went to participate in an annual event.

“The electricity sometimes goes out. The people seem subdued, they wear dark clothes. You don’t see the bright clothes you’d see in the U.S.,” Thompson said. “You don’t see the spirit or the sparkle in the people.”

He was there for the big celebration that has become a spectacle.

“Just thousands of people. They’re organized, they stand in lines and they dance,” he said.

And he came away with an appreciation for the people, and how they treat Americans.

“We never had anything negative. They smiled and waved during the race and other places we saw them they would look at us,” Thompson said.

It was an adventure in what has been a year of loss and of learning how to cope with it.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop. I’ve been told by people did that that almost had depression and it was really hard on them,” Thompson said. “So keep moving.”


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