RunAway has been a fan favorite since the beginning of their legacy in Season 2 of APEX. APEX was a premier Overwatch tournament in South Korea that had some of the best players in the Overwatch League, including the entire lineup of London Spitfire.
RunAway’s legacy began when they appeared on stage with bright pink sweaters and some of the most eye-catching personalities.
Runner punches the roof -- everyones favorite APEX moment.
It wasn’t just their looks that captured the hearts of fans, but their lineup of amazing talents that were on an equal footing with some of most established teams like Lunatic-Hai (Seoul Dynasty) and LW Blue (New York Excelsior). The most remarkable trait of RunAway was the fact that they were managed by a popular streamer with very little financial support and no team house.
As I walked through RunAway’s apartment, I saw 2 rows of 4 computers where the champions of South Korean Overwatch Contenders would practice and, ultimately, get their first premier title. I was introduced to heroes, such as Stitch, Haksal and Bumper, as well as upcoming stars like Twilight, JJanu and Seominsoo.
It was all surreal.
I was about to commence with what could be one of the last interviews with RunAway as a full, complete roster.
To begin, could you briefly introduce yourselves?
Hyunwoo “JJANU” Choi: I am RunAway’s off-tank Hyunwoo “JJANU” Choi.
Sungjoo “Slime” Kim: Hello. My name is Kim “Slime” Sung Joon, and I am the main support for RunAway.
Chunghee “Stitch” Lee: Hello! My name is Chunghee “Stitch” Lee, and I am the DPS player for RunAway.
Sukjoo “Twilight” Lee: Hello. My name is Sukjoo “Twilight” Lee, and I am the flex support for RunAway.
Donghoon “Hooreg” Lee: Hello, my name is Donghoon “Hooreg” Lee, and I am the DPS player for RunAway.
Sungbum “Bumper” Park: Hello, my name is Sungbum “Bumper” Park, and I am the main tank for RunAway.
Hyojong “Haksal” Kim: Hello, my name is Hyojong “Haksal” Kim, and I am a flex DPS player for RunAway.
Minsoo “Seominsoo” Seo: Hello, my name is Miinsoo “Seominsoo” Seo, and I am the flex player for RunAway.
Yangwon “Yangwon” Kwon: Hello, my name is Yangwon “Yangwon” Kwon, and I am currently the head coach for RunAway.
How did you come up with your battletag?
JANU: If you say my name [Hyunwoo] quickly, it sounds like JJANU and that became my nickname in middle school. So, I naturally used that as my battletag.
Slime: There’s a character named “Slime” in Maple Story, and Slime and Lucio are both green and bouncy, so I decided to use that as my battletag.
Stitch: At first, I was just going to use my name, Lee Chunghee, but, when I woke up one day, I couldn’t speak properly, so my teammate at the time told me I was like Stitch. So, I just woke up and became Stitch.
Twilight: I was using a randomly generated name, but I had to choose a name to enter a competition, so I just decided to use Twilight because I was watching Twilight at the time.
Hooreg: I am not sure if I should say, it’s a bad word. Could I just pass?
Bumper: When I first started to play Overwatch, I started out as Reaper. So, I used ‘per’ from Reaper and then added ‘Bum’ from my name Sungbum.
Haksal: I used to by the name of ‘Zergling’ (everyone laughs}, but when Overwatch came out, I thought Genji was cool. I wanted to ‘massacre’ everyone with Genji, so I decided to name myself ‘Haksal’ (Note: ‘Haksal’ means massacre in Korean).
Seominsoo: I thought that I would work and play harder if I used my real name. So, I decided to use my real name.
Yangwon: Runner just told me to use my name, Yangwon, as my tag name. So, I decided to use Yangwon.
How did you end up being a pro gamer?
Seominsoo: When I was in school, I would watch a lot of streamers and play. When I started to think that pro players weren’t that great, I told my parents I wanted to become a pro player. They were seriously against it. However, my older brother went to a good university, [so my parents respected his opinion a lot] and he was able to convince my family to support me. My parents finally changed their minds when they saw me make it to semifinals with NC Foxes.
Haksal: Being a pro gamer was my dream since I was in Middle School. I played a lot of games [like League of Legends and Sudden Attack], and when Overwatch came out, my friend recommended that I play the game. At the time, there was only Quick Play, and I played a lot of Quick Play and started making friends. There’s a player named DarkSoul who contacted me through the game and introduced me to the pro gaming life. Without him, I wouldn’t be here right now. He introduced me to Runner.
Bumper: Before Overwatch, I played a lot of League of Legends in PC rooms. One of my friends who used to go to PC rooms with me was playing Overwatch, and I started to play with him. I didn’t know much about the game, and I just played; my rank was really high, so I thought I had the potential to be a pro. The hero I played after Reaper was Reinhardt.
Hooreg: I started playing Overwatch since closed beta in PC rooms. I played so much that I would play throughout the whole night and go home in the morning. When competitive mode came out, my rank was like 83 or 84. At the time, I was known as “SuperRookie.” A friend of mine was telling me that there was a new team called GC Busan and they were trying out players from Busan, and he recommended I try out. We both tried out, and he couldn’t make it, but I was able to. That’s how I started to become a pro.
Twilight: One day, I got a call while I was sleeping and a friend of mine, Bokyeom (another pro player) told me that BK Stars was trying out new players and he recommended that I try. When I contacted them, they said they only had one flex support position left, and I didn’t play support a lot at the time, but, I decided to try out anyways, and in the end, I made it somehow. The person that liked me a lot was Zunba, and that’s how I was able to get into the team.
Stitch: I was playing a lot of League of Legends and thought about the possibility of becoming a pro (sort of), but, when I was about to get into university, I just suddenly lost all interest in League of Legends, so I just decided to go to university instead. When I was at University, I started to play Overwatch, and out of all the people in my dorm, I was the best. When competitive came out, my rank was really high. So, I was playing Overwatch, and I got to meet some people; one of the people was KoX. He recommended that I become a pro and asked me if I wanted to join RunAway. At first, I didn’t want to. I told him, “Why would I join RunAway? I’ll join a better team.” Then, he promised me that if I join RunAway, he’ll make me rich, so I ended up joining.
Slime: When I was a senior in high school, I had a group of friends who studied together, and there were six of us. When we played Overwatch, we would queue up together and do well. When we did our first placement, we were 10 – 0, and my score was 70 something; I saw some hope, and it was really fun. At the time, my computer was really bad, so I just played Lucio, which I was able to rank up high in. By the time it was Season 3, I was Grandmaster. During Season 4’s pre-season, I didn’t have a lot of things to do, and I started to find out about scrims. I was told I could join pro scrims and I did, and now I am here.
JJANU: I used to play a lot of League of Legends, and I started to play Overwatch because my friends introduced it to me. I liked it a lot. At the time I was a Reaper 1-trick, and when BJ League came out, I tried out for a few teams, but I got rejected because I was a Reaper 1-trick. So, I started to practice other heroes, and now I am here.
Based on your experiences living with members of RunAway, who do you think will have the most difficulty in getting married?
JJANU: Haksal. He has a very interesting taste in food, and he will get into a lot of fights because of that.
Slime: No one. I think they will all live well.
Stitch: Haksal. He is very picky about his food, and I think he will fight a lot because of that.
Twilight: Hooreg. He doesn’t clean up after himself. Whenever there’s an announcement, he has no clue what’s going on. He asks a lot of questions and has a hard time understanding. He will fight a lot.
Hooreg: Stitch. I don’t think he can get married. He is a very “free” person. That’s all I will say.
Bumper: Haksal. It is something I noticed living with him for a while. He has a different taste in food and he is not like other people.
Haksal: JJANU. The dude rarely takes a shower, and he has to stop eating pork belly. I don’t think he will shower when he gets married. So, I don’t think he can get married.
Seominsoo: Slime. I think he is too sensitive, and he doesn’t have the courage to speak his mind, so I think he will have a hard time getting married.
Yangwon: I think Haksal might have the most difficulty in getting married, but if he does, I think he will be a good husband. I think the first person that will get divorced is Hooreg. He doesn’t do jack around the house. At least for Haksal, if you ask him to do something, he will do it well, but for Hooreg… no comment.
Who is the laziest member?
JJANU, Yangwon and Twilight point at Hooreg; the rest point at JJANU
JJANU: Lazy? Um… Hooreg?
Yangwon: I agree. At least JJANU does chores around the house when he is asked to.
Hooreg: At least I take a shower.
Haksal: I chose JJANU because if you look at JJANU’s hair, it looks like it’s glued together [for the lack of hygiene maintenance]. It was a culture shock for me when I saw that for the first time.
Who is the hardest working member? Or name a member that you are glad to live with.
Seominsoo: [I chose Yangwon because] Yangwon was our manager/coach. However, he took care of us like brothers, and I was glad that I lived with him.
Haksal: I chose Twilight because he takes care of me even if we don’t ask him to.
History of RunAway
For members who have been in the team for a while, you have experienced many hardships together. Which one was the hardest for you and how did you overcome it?
Bumper: I think APEX Season 3 was the hardest for me. I knew that we weren’t going to perform well, but we didn’t know we would get disqualified that quickly. However, despite having a tough time, we consoled each other and told each other that we would do well next time and that’s how we overcame that moment. We told each other that losing is learning and we were able to keep a good spirit.
Haksal: The hardest part was in APEX Season 1. When we beat Reunited 4 – 0, I thought for sure that we were going to win the tournament. However, because of the patch changes, we were completely stomped. That totally burst my bubble, and I went through some hard times. However, we were able to perform well in Season 2, so I was able to overcome it.
Stitch: After we lost APEX Season 4 Finals, we saw a lot of teams go to the Overwatch League, and we had to stay in Overwatch Contenders. That was definitely one of my hardest moments. To be honest, I thought about quitting because of my wrist, but the team asked me to play one more season, so I decided to stay here.
JJANU: I joined the team in Season 4 of APEX, and we got second place. After that, the hardest part was Contenders Season 1. Since most of the [good] players went to the Overwatch League, I thought we were able to win Contenders for sure, but, we got eliminated in the quarterfinals, and that was pretty hard for me.
Any nostalgic moments?
Stitch: I missed APEX the most. During APEX Season 2, we were just amateur players that played in our own house. I missed those days.
Haksal: I missed the BJ League days. (Everyone laughs) That was the first time I was able to participate in an offline tournament and play in front of a large audience.
Bumper: I miss APEX Season 2 the most. That was my first time attending an offline tournament as well. The happiest moment was when I was on the bus going to the finals.
JJANU: I think I miss APEX the most. That’s when I first started to become a pro and came in second, and I was part of it. That made me really happy.
RunAway’s First Championship
You finally got your first title; how did that make you feel?
JJANU: Since we got second place so many times, we only knew how it felt to be second. I was finally able to experience how it felt to be a champion and that felt refreshing.
Slime: I never got second place, so I don’t know how that felt. Last season we got 4th, and now that we got first, I was really happy.
Stitch: I was just happy to win.
Twilight: I was just happy that we were able to ‘reverse-sweep’ them.
Hooreg: I couldn’t show a lot of my strengths this season, but I am thankful that my teammates played well. To be honest, I never got second place, so I don’t know what to say.
Bumper: It felt like all the hardships that built up for a year and a half went away in one single sweep.
Haksal: It felt great to finally get a win after my first win in BJ League. I told myself that I would change the header of my Facebook profile when I win, and I wasn’t able to for so long, and it felt good to be able to change it again.
Seominsoo: I was not able to show any consistency ever since I became pro. When it was Season 1 of Overwatch Contenders, I was not able to get into a team, so I practiced a lot. When we won the championships for Season 2, it felt like I was able to bear the fruits of my labor and it felt amazing.
Yangwon: Since we are all individually talented, I thought that we would win for sure, but we kept on losing. I joined RunAway pretty late, around Season 4 of APEX, because I was a friend of Stitch. I used to watch his matches a lot. When I saw them play, I saw nobody but winners. As a fan, I got emotional when they kept on losing. I felt a huge sense of relief that we were able to get our first win as their coach.
(To coach) Season 2 of Overwatch Contenders had a lot of tough opponents. Why do you think RunAway was able to take the win this time?
Yangwon: We practiced hard individually and as a team, and that’s how we were able to take the title. I think we were able to win because of determination and a lot of preparation.
Who is the MVP for Season 2? Let’s begin by asking those that pointed at themselves.
Bumper: I think I played my role well and I believe that I did more than what was asked of me (laughs).
Bumper, people have been admiring your tank plays, and people often think your style is particularly aggressive and unique. What is your philosophy on tanking?
Bumper: Tizi (former tank for RunAway) just gave me some tips on how to play a tank and I just simply followed his tips, and I just blended it with my own style.
Ok. Seominsoo, who is your MVP for season 2?
Seominsoo: If you look at the situation, I think I was the MVP. We were losing 3 -1 when I joined the lineup, and I think I was the MVP because we were able the reverse sweep them. I get nervous during a match, but that day I was calm, and I was able to play well, so I am pretty proud of myself.
And Yangwon. You nominated Twilight, could you tell us why you think he was the MVP?
Yangwon: If you analyze our fights, there were many times when we were in dangerous situations, and we survived because Twilight was able to keep our players up in that back. Bumper also played really well; however, Twilight enabled him to play even better.
As fans, will we hear good news about RunAway in the upcoming season of Overwatch League?
Yangwon: As you may know, RunAway performed extremely well this season and I believe that all of our players are probably the best in their own roles. So, a lot of the League teams are on the lookout for our players, and we want our players to go into teams that are providing the best conditions. We don’t know the exact details yet, but the management has told us that the offers we have been getting have been generally really good. So, based on these responses, I would say things are looking good for RunAway.
If you can’t join OWL together as a team, which team would you like to join?
JJANU: I wanted to go to New York Excelsior because if you look at the overall performances of Season 1, I believe that NYXL was the best. They also need another off-tank, so I thought I would be a good fit. However, it’s different now. I think we are one of the best teams in the world and I want us to go to OWL together.
Slime: I like Los Angeles Valiant because I really like Kariv. I liked him since he played Widowmaker in APEX. He is really good, and I think the Valiant is really good, too. So, I want to go there.
Stitch: I don’t have a team that I particularly want to go to.
Twilight: There’s no particular team that I really want to go to, but, I prefer a Korean team to avoid communication issues.
Hooreg: There’s no team that I want to go to, but I prefer a Korean team. If I had to choose, the new expansion teams look interesting.
Bumper: I want to go to San Francisco Shock or Los Angeles Gladiators. I really like SFS colors and LAG played well in Season 1, and I like their colors as well.
Hooreg: You choose teams based on colors?
Haksal: I want to join Seoul Dynasty. There’s Jehong, Zunba, Tobi and Fleta and I am pretty close to them.
Yangwon: I want to go to a team that can play well when we try hard together. There’s no particular team I want to join, but I guess I want to go the team that just won. Actually, I also want to go to Shanghai Dragons. I want to help them improve.
If RunAway went into Overwatch League right now, how well do you think you will do?
Yangwon: Honestly, I think we’ll be first. I feel like we will be able to win at least one of the stage playoffs. Even when we were playing in Contenders, we never thought we would lose against OWL teams.
Haksal: There might be a lot of Genji players in OWL, but there are no OWL players that can massacre [haksal] with a Genji, so I want to go there and show them. [Note: this was a play on words. Haksal means massacre in Korean]
So, do you all agree with Yangwon? That you would be one of the top teams if you went into the Overwatch League?
Any thoughts about what you want to do after you retire?
Bumper: I would like to become a caster after I retire (laughs). I want to be able to enjoy the game without pressure and stress.
For the fans
When you first heard that you had a lot of fans abroad, how did you find out and how did it feel?
Haksal: I am thankful that fans have been watching us and cheering for us even with the time zone differences. I want to show my fans and entertain my fans abroad in their time zones.
Bumper: I didn’t know I had a lot of fans abroad and I am very thankful. If we can make it to OWL, I’ll definitely put on a good show for them.
Stitch: I didn’t know we had a lot of international fans, but Runner always told me. I am thankful for them, and I hope they can cheer for us until the very end.
Would you like to say any last words for your fans?
JJANU: It has not been confirmed yet whether we will go to OWL or not, but if we do, we’ll try our best to show our best performances and make sure we don’t disappoint our fans at home and abroad.
Slime: We will go [to OWL] and win once more.
Stitch: We’ll show you an even better performance. I hope you can continue to support us.
Twilight: We’ll make sure we can entertain our fans better and not disappoint them for cheering for us.
Hooreg: I want to see a crowd full of pink sweaters.
Bumper: Some people think that we will lose against current OWL teams, but, we will go there and dominate the League for our fans.
Haksal: You might have been disappointed with current OWL Genjis, so I’ll go there and show you what a real Genji looks like.
Seominsoo: We won Overwatch Contenders Season 2; we will win OWL Season 2 as well.
Yangwon: I would like to thank all the fans at home and abroad. I am very thankful that fans have been supporting us despite time zone differences. So, if we go to OWL, I promise you that you will not be disappointed in cheering for us.
Yangwon: Could I just say a few last words?
Yes, go ahead.
Yangwon: This is something our team wanted to say to our managers, Runner, Flowervin and the staff. We went through a lot of difficult seasons together, and because of the managers and staff, we were able to hang in there and share some good memories and happy moments together. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us in the next few months, but I hope that we can be happy together as a family while we are in Korea. I hope we can be happy together no matter what our future holds.