The Korean variety show Running Man has gained popularity in South Korea and other countries. First appearing in 2010 as an urban action reality show, the long-standing series celebrated the release of its 500th episode this May. Its acclaim is well-deserved, with sold-out international cast tours, consistently high ratings, and multiple awards received both for the show and its cast members. Running Man even made it to the list of Business Insider’s 20 TV Shows of 2016, considered as the top non-American show in the world based on statistics from data science company Parrot Analytics.
The fans of Running Man will have their reasons for loving the show from the unpredictable creative games to the celebrity guests, with idol groups like Twice and BTS, and actors from famous Korean dramas. But what made Running Man a success is no doubt the hilarious chemistry and camaraderie between the cast members. Get to know more about their personalities and characters below.
Nation’s Favorite MC – Yoo Jae Suk
Known for his funny ad-libs and signature men’s haircut, Yoo Jae Suk is one of Korea’s sought-after hosts and comedians. He serves as the main lead of Running Man, usually in charge of interviewing guests and moving the show’s pace forward. His quick wits, trivia knowledge, and complete disregard for composure lead him to victory.
Big Nose Impala – Ji Suk Jin
Ji Suk Jin is the oldest member of the group and considered the weakest link during physical activities, which is why he is called Impala, a prey for other members. But don’t let this weakness fool you, as Suk Jin’s schemes and experience give him the win, especially if other members underestimate him.
Sparta Tiger – Kim Jong Kook
His strength and competitive nature earned Kim Jong Kook his nicknames denoting his character of being the strongest and most capable member. Guests usually want to partner with him to have the best chance of winning. Watching how the other members try to outwit Jong Kook and eliminate him early makes for good entertainment.
Ultimate Betrayer – Lee Kwang Soo
If there was an antagonist in Running Man, it would be Lee Kwang Soo. He is known to be the icon of betrayal as he can easily switch sides if it means winning the game. His underhanded tactics make the show exciting as he tries to outmaneuver the smarter and stronger members.
Haroro – Ha Dong Hoon
Ha Dong Hoon or Haha assumes the childish character of the show, quick to tease and throw playful tantrums at the other members. His signature looks of wearing round glasses and a hat made him look like Pororo, a popular animated children’s character in Korea. Members sometimes forget to be wary of Haha’s skills, which makes him take the win at the last second.
Blank Ace – Song Ji Hyo
Song Ji Hyo’s winning streak and unparalleled luck earned her the nickname of Ace alongside Kim Jong Kook. She is a strong contender in games despite being one of the two women in the show. Ji Hyo is also famous for her moments of blankness and naivety, especially if put on the spot, as ad-libs are not her forte.
Flirty Parrot – Jeon So Min
Joining the cast in April 2017, Jeon So Min adopted the show’s falling in love character after Lee Kwang Soo. She is usually matched up with male guests to give a love story subplot in the show. She is nicknamed the Parrot due to her ability to talk nonstop about random and funny topics.
Number 8 – Yang Se Chan
Comedian Yang Se Chan joined the cast together with So Min in 2017. His jokes and slapstick tendencies never fail to bring tears of laughter to his teammates. He is nicknamed Number 8, referring to his ranking in the group in terms of physical appearance.
The cast of Running Man is one of the main reasons the show is successful. Their strong familial bond can be felt through the screens, capturing the hearts of many fans.