Canadian marathoner Jen Loong not only visited North Korea where few foreigners are permitted, but she also posted some rare candid images of life in the secretive dictatorship.

Loong, 25, ran the Pyongyang Marathon earlier this month, the first time the event was open to foreigners. She stayed in the country for a week, when former leader Kim Il Sung's birthday was also being celebrated.

Loong is from Vancouver but currently lives in Shanghai for business. She explained that she travels to at least three or four international races each year "to explore sights and sounds of a new city while on the run," and that her motto is "to do one thing a day that scares you."

In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit this week, she was asked if she felt she was legitimizing the North Korean government.

"I flip-flopped on this before going too. The only thing I am legitimizing is the support for NK [North Korea] to open up to the rest of the world, and allowing foreign runners to go in and see it on their own accord was truly a step in that direction," Loong responded.

"When the race started we ran around the stadium with 50,000 cheering Pyongyang citizens clapping away. I hope NK gov't will bring more of this international perspective to their citizens. What's more is seeing all the smiling faces on the children along the run, looking at us for hope and smiles!"

The Canadian runner said she was told the rooms in the hotel were tapped, so she whispered most of the time. Remarkably, Loong said government officials did not follow her closely during the marathon.

"We ran unguided for the full distance, high-five-ing locals along the way," she told Reddit. "We couldn’t run off tracks surely with soldier on every block, but running at your own pace and interacting with locals was good enough for me!”

A total of 1,000 runners entered the marathon, with participants coming from 27 foreign countries as well as North Korea, reported CNN. Loong said 200 were foreigners.

Loong captured some astonishing Instagram footage, including video of herself dancing with a drunk North Korean man, and a little girl dancing in the park with her grandmother.

See more of Jen Loong's Instagram images:

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  • "A #northkorea #wedding photo -- mandatory to take it in front of the two #statues of eternal president Kim Il Sung and eternal general Kim Jong Il." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/23/canadian-runs-north-korean-marathon_n_5200828.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia" target="_blank">Canadian Jen Loong</a> ran the 2014 Pyongyang Marathon, which was open to foreigners for the first time. She took some candid Instagram images on her trip.

  • "Flying the worlds only one star airline to #northkorea for the #Pyongyang marathon. Goodbye internet and data plan. Once a life time trip ahead."

  • "That time I ran through the streets of #pyongyang unguided amongst 800 #runners (200 of whom were foreigners) for the Pyongyang #Marathon. Fascinating warmth and curiosity amongst the streets, equally as weird to wave and run the whole race as if you're the oddest thing they have ever seen. Fair to assume first time @Lululemon showed up in #northkorea too!"

  • "Before entering the #stadium for the #pyongyang #marathon. Hunger games in real life."

  • "Apparently 2 million people reside in #Pyongnyang and it sure felt like they all came out to watch the marathon."

  • "The world's deepest #metro at 40m into the ground. Takes a few minutes to ride the escalator down into literally soviet era train depots. The trains themselves were sold to #DPRK by East Berlin so you can still read German graffitis on the windows."

  • "#students from 36 #universities in #pyongyang danced in the public square in celebration of #kimilsung's #birthday in #northkorea"

  • "Man + woman, #dprk or otherwise just a man and a woman. #northkorea"

  • "Almost got into trouble taking a #yoga photo in front of the Juche Tower (reminder of self reliance) as the soldier have no idea what the pose means politically. Look closer and you can see grey dots on the ground where soldiers would stand on as part of military parades in the plaza. Truly communism style."

  • "And the version of #northkorea I was prepared to see, just some machine guns and arms sitting peacefully on a train track, guarded by some soldiers at sunset in a rural town. The capital is more polished, but the real NK shows up in rural areas undoubtedly."

  • "The #ladies of #Pyongyang. Some of the most artistic and elegant dancers I've yet come to witness, celebrating Kim Il Sung(NK's founder)'s birthday."

  • "Who needs traffic lights when you have military trained traffic women? #pyongyang"

  • "Now I can say I have been to both sides of the world's most militarized area twice.... Checked out the concrete block by which two #soldiers are standing, across that block and you're in South Korea."

  • "I went to the #flowers market on #kimilsung's birthday because he has a flower named after him. I tried to show these adorable schoolgirls that you can de yourself from your phone camera, they were shocked at such a function!"

  • "Ryugyong Hotel at a distance from the Warm Museum. When this was built in 2009, it's supposed to be the world's tallest building. Now that it's built, it will take another 3 years to furnish the inside before opening up for booking. I wonder if they are importing more 1990s fixtures here."

  • "Stone structures to always remind the people what the three most important communist citizens are -- hammer (worker), sickle (farmer), and paintbrush (intellectuals). I'd argue one more is missing......."

  • "This is the fast food chain in #Pyongyang's #themepark. The burgers tasted subpar but there you go some good ol' North American influence nonetheless."

  • "Innocent faces who have probably seen the not so innocent. You see soldiers carry guns rushing kids along with the countryside, and very hungry faces. Outside the capital these people get their salaries once a year."

  • "Koryo plate-setting #dprk #northkorea #diningtable #eat"

  • "#yogaworldwide at the empire of the 'morning #sun' Chaoxian #dprk #northkorea"

  • NEXT: North Korea's Craziest Threats

  • January 1951

    Six months after invading North Korean forces started the Korean War, North Korean leader and founder Kim Il Sung says in a speech that U.S. and South Korean forces were the actual invaders and had prompted his army to retaliate. Kim vows to annihilate the North's enemies. <em>Caption: In this March 7, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 8, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, uses binoculars to look at the South's territory from an observation post at the military unit on Jangjae islet, located in the southernmost part of the southwestern sector of North Korea's border with South Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS) </em>

  • January 1952

    Kim Il Sung likens U.S. forces to Nazis and says that the war is turning into a mass grave for U.S. forces. <em>Caption: In this March 7, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 8, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, walks with military personnel as he arrives for a military unit on Mu Islet, located in the southernmost part of the southwestern sector of North Korea's border with South Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS)</em>

  • May 1972

    Kim Il Sung tells Harrison Salisbury and John Lee of The New York Times that because of perceived U.S. hostility, "we are always making preparations for war. We do not conceal this matter." <em>Caption: North Koreans attend a rally in support of a statement given on Tuesday by a spokesman for the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army vowing to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War as well as boasting of the North's ownership of "lighter and smaller nukes" and its ability to execute "surgical strikes" meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday, March 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)</em>

  • March 1993

    North Korea declares a "semi-state of war" to protest joint U.S.-South Korean war games that it says threaten its security. Amid a standoff with Washington over its nuclear program, it also threatens to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. <em>Caption: In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. (AP Photo/KCNA, File)</em>

  • 1994

    In an appearance of what will become a well-worn phrase, a North Korean negotiator threatens to turn Seoul into "a sea of fire." Fearing war, South Koreans clear store shelves of instant noodles, water, gas and other necessities. <em>Caption: Female North Korean traffic police officers gather in front of bronze statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to pay their respects in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • September 1996

    North Korea threatens "hundredfold and thousandfold retaliation" against South Korean troops who had captured or killed armed North Korean agents who had used a submarine to sneak into the South. <em>Caption: North Korean soldiers gather along a Pyongyang street during heavy snowfall on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • September 1996

    North Korea threatens "hundredfold and thousandfold retaliation" against South Korean troops who had captured or killed armed North Korean agents who had used a submarine to sneak into the South. <em>Caption: A North Korean soldier smokes a cigarette as snow falls in Pyongyang on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • January 2002

    After President George W. Bush labels North Korea part of an "axis of evil" with Iraq and Iran, Pyongyang calls the remark "little short of a declaration of war." North Korea's Foreign Ministry warns it "will never tolerate the U.S. reckless attempt to stifle the (North) by force of arms but mercilessly wipe out the aggressors." <em>Caption: A North Korean portrait photographer instructs North Korean soldiers to pose for a picture under a mosaic of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at an exhibition in Pyongyang on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 where Kimjongilia flowers, named after Kim Jong Il, were on display. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • January 2010

    North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission warns that the country will initiate a "retaliatory holy war" against South Korea over Seoul's alleged contingency plan to deal with potential unrest in the North. <em>Caption: A North Korean man stands next to a tractor and wagon on the edge of a snow covered field near the village of Ryongsan-ri, south of Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • May 2010

    After a Seoul-led international investigation blames a North Korean torpedo for the sinking of a South Korea warship that killed 46 sailors, Pyongyang issues a denial and warns of a "prompt physical strike." In November 2010, the North attacked a front-line island, killing four South Koreans. <em>Caption: North Koreans cross a railroad bridge over a riverbed south of Mount Myohyang, and north of the capital city of Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • November 2011

    A day after South Korea conducts large-scale military drills near the island hit by the North in 2010, the North's Korean People's Army threatens to turn Seoul's presidential palace into a "sea of fire." <em>Caption: In this Feb. 16, 2013 image made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, waves as he attends a statue unveiling ceremony at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School in Pyongyang, North Korea on the anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's birthday. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video)</em>

  • April 2012

    North Korea holds a massive rally denouncing conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a "rat." It says he should be struck with a "retaliatory bolt of lightning" because of his confrontational approach toward Pyongyang. <em>Caption: Rows of North Korean children stand and salute at a sports arena in Pyongyang for a national meeting of the Children's Union on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)</em>

  • June 2012

    North Korea's military warns that troops have aimed artillery at seven South Korean media groups to express outrage over criticism in Seoul of ongoing children's festivals in Pyongyang. It threatens a "merciless sacred war." <em>Caption: South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)</em>

  • October 2012

    An unidentified spokesman at the powerful National Defense Commission warns that the U.S. mainland is within range of its missiles and says Washington's recent agreement to let Seoul possess missiles capable of hitting all of North Korea shows the allies are plotting to invade the North. <em>Caption: North Korean soldiers and others gather in front of bronze statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to pay their respects in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)</em>

  • North Korean soldiers lay flowers at the base of bronze statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to pay their respects in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. North Koreans turned out to commemorate what would have been the 71th birthday of Kim Jong Il who died on Dec. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • NEXT: North Korea By Photographer David Guttenfelder

  • North Korean waitresses pick up dishes behind a red velvet curtained kitchen at a restaurant in the newly-opened Kumrung Sports Exercise Center in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman smokes a cigar as he watches North Korean basketball players during a practice session in Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. Rodman selected the members of the North Korean team who will play in Pyongyang against visiting NBA stars on Jan. 8, 2014, the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Bouquets of flowers stand beneath portraits of the late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Across the capital city, North Koreans observed the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • A board, painted so North Korean families can peek their faces through and have their photo taken to look like they are wearing space suits, stands in a snow drift in Pyongyang, North Korea Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • A North Korean woman stands at the window of a snack bar inside the newly-opened Kumrung Sports Exercise Center in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Men walk past a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as they return to the locker room after swimming at the newly-opened Kumrung Sports Exercise Center in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • North Korean women wave to their leader Kim Jong Un during a mass military parade on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice Saturday, July 27, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • CORRECTS SPELLING TO KIM JONG UN - In this Friday Dec. 13, 2013 photo, North Korean nurses care for infants in incubators in the newly-opened Okryu Children's Hospital in Pyongyang, North Korea. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • In this Saturday Dec. 14, 2013 photo, a North Korean riding instructor waits with his horse at the newly-opened Mi Rim Riding Club near Pyongyang, North Korea. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Job Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • North Korean aerobics instructors practice a routine at a dance studio inside the newly-opened Kumrung Sports Exercise Center in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Building new recreational and health facilities has been a cornerstone of leader Kim Job Un's efforts to fulfill a promise made to raise living standards in North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • North Korean girls stand at attention at the end of a performance of the "Arirang" mass games at May Day Stadium in Pyongyang Friday, July 26, 2013 on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • A North Korean man walks on a snowy sidewalk in central Pyongyang on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Passengers walk on the snowy tarmac at Pyongyang's international airport as they disembark from the Air Koryo flight arriving from Beijing to Pyongyang, North Korea on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • In this Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 photo, a North Korean soldier steps over the recently opened train tracks linking the city of Rajin, North Korea in the Rason Special Economic Zone to the border at Tumangang and Khasan in Russia. Last month, North Korea announced plans to create economic zones in every province. The North also recently laid out new laws to facilitate foreign tourism and investment. The laws provide investors with special incentives and guarantees, while giving local leaders greater autonomy to promote themselves and handle business decisions. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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