Defying Danger in Pyongyang, North Korea and Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls with Gloria McCoy


In 2016 Gloria McCoy ran in the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea. This was the third year international runners were allowed to participate in the world’s most isolated country and interact en masse with North Koreans. They were not allowed to roam freely and guides from the state-owned tour companies were with them at all times.  It was the first year iPhones and GoPros were allowed and they were instructed that photographing images of any of the Kim leaders must include the full body. No photographs of construction sites were allowed.  The race began and finished in the biggest stadium in the world, capacity 150,000. The stadium was filled with spectators and spectators lined the route. Stadium spectators were entertained with soccer



In 2022, at 77 years old, Gloria  had the thrilling experience of being in Devil’s Pool directly on the edge of Victoria Falls on the Zambia side. The experience included getting a one day Zambia visa, going by boat to Livingston Island, swimming in Devil’s Pool and concluding with tea.  A large sign noted that she was participating at her own risk over slippery rocks, in river currents, and among reptiles, (hippos and crocodiles) with risk of bodily harm, injury and even death.  The trek over the slippery rocks was fearful enough, but the next step in water over her head was to catch the current and swim to the Devil’s pool.  Reaching the destination, it was a life-time thrill



Gloria was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, graduated in Chemistry and Laboratory Science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, career included two startup companies in San Diego, Hybritech, the first biotech company in San Diego and Pyxis, the first automated dispensing system for healthcare medications and supplies.  Both companies became public. She is married to Charles McCoy. They share two adult children and two adult grandchildren. Gloria is  President-Travelers’ Century Club and current San Diego Chapter Coordinator for Travelers’ Century Club. She has traveled in 210 countries  and territories, as defined by Travelers’ Century Club.

This program was organized by Craig Caryl #1230.