Dong A Pharmaceutical Co. launched the Dong A Pharmaceutical Co. College Students Long March in 1998 to help college undergrads build a challenging spirit and build pride in themselves at the time when the country’s economy was in trouble.
Chairman Kang Shin-ho of Dong A Socio Group first came up with the idea for the event to walk the length of the country.
The great event, the 20th iteration, was successfully held this year. A ceremony took place at Korea University’s Hwajeong Gymnasium in Anam-ro, Seongbuk District, Seoul, at 10 a.m. on July 23 to celebrate the completion of the the pharmaceutical company’s great march. This year’s celebration took place with more special programs added to those held in previous years. All participants from the previous 19 events plus their 1,600 family members were invited to celebrate the 20th march.
A group of Dong A Socio Group’s top executives, including Vice Chairman Kang Su-hyung of Dong A ST, and President Choi Ho-jin of Dong A Pharmaceutical Co. and President Han Jong-kyun of Dong A Socio Holdings participated in the annual walk and celebration.
President Han said the great march across the country is an opportunity for him to “find himself” to feel the love of his companions. It gives them time to apply the learning process of their maturity while also applying how they look in the future, he said. He said he hopes they engrave what they learn at the walk deep in their minds and develop themselves as challengers who will be agents of change.
Hwang Hyun, who was born in 1998, the year the event was first held, participated in the walk this year. He said he thought about quitting in the middle because it was too painful and he was tired from the excessive heat, but he overcame the obstacles and completed the event thanks to his companions, who picked him up whenever he sat down along the roadside and encouraged him to continue.
He said the great event, which is the same age as him, was an occasion to look back at his life, giving him an experience so valuable that it cannot be exchanged for anything.
Also held was “Re: Member Day” that took a look back at the history of the great march. Many great numbers and records were recited for those in attendance.
A total of 256,386 participants walked the Dong A Pharmaceutical Co. College Students Long March in the past 20 years, out of which 2,857 were chosen to join the great march. The distance they covered totaled 11,458 km, equal to crisscrossing Seoul and Busan (400 km) 14 times. In the first year, the competition ratio to be selected to participate in the long march came to 24:1, but the ratio ballooned enormously this year with 18,617 college students applying to be among the 144 to walk in the event, with average annual ratio in the past 20 years coming to 90:1. The event has become one of the events that college students favor the most as an off campus activity.
The exact route of the 500 km-long main course changes every year; in the 17th year, the course started from the top of the Ilchul Peak on Jeju Island. In 2015, the walk started from the Independence Memorial Hall in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, with the year being the 70th anniversary year for the Liberation Day for Korea from the Japanese colonial rule in 1945 and culminated at the memorial hall in celebration of the historic day.