Triathlon brings families together
by Tien Thanh
BINH THUAN — How many sports allow entire families to take part, offering a gamut of toughness from gruelling to not so difficult to accommodate all of them? Well, not many.
|Rewarding: The Kobberger family pose for a photo after the awards presentation ceremony on Saturday night. — VNS Photo Tien Thanh
Triathlon is one of them. Though it was originally devised as an extreme of endurance, it has been modified to allow more people to take part. The most famous international event is the annual Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, the US, which features a 3.8km swim, a 179km bicycle race, and a marathon.
The triathlon is very popular in western countries and, of course, among expats in Viet Nam, but it is yet to catch on among Vietnamese.
The first triathlon in Viet Nam was organised in 2001 by Jean-Luc Voisin, a French explorer and the founder of the Viet Adventure, a travel company specialising in adventure tours, including triathlons, around Viet Nam.
The 11th edition of the event, the Le Fruit off-road triathlon, was organised on Saturday in Mui Ne with nearly 200 competitors of all ages from more than 10 countries.
It comprised events for all ages, including children under six, who had to swim 50m, cycle 2km, and run 1km.
It was not just a sport but also a good chance for people to get together, make friends, and have healthy fun with their families.
The five-member Kobberger family from Germany, for instance, had four contestants of whom two won top prizes.
Luc Joel, 10, the eldest son, won the junior event by swimming 180m, cycling 4km, and running 1.5km, while his sister Noah Jean, 6, won the children's event.
"In HCM City, it is not easy to find a place to train for the triathlon, but in my school I play a lot of sports like basketball and football," the long-haired Luc said.
"Those sports have improved my physical strength. And that's why I won today."
Their parents Everlyne and Thomas did not win prizes but were very proud of their children.
Everlyne said: "We have participated in the Le Fruit Triathlon many times and I am very happy our children have been getting stronger. Two years ago they finished third, last year second, and now first."
Thomas, who works in the real estate sector in HCM City, said: "Our family members always feel connected and we are happy that we find more pleasure every time we take part in the Le Fruit Triathlon."
American John Robert Mucha does not live in Viet Nam, but managed to find out about the Le Fruit triathlon on the internet three years ago. He has since come and taken part every year with his wife Kimberly A Ames.
"It is a nice race but it not only is a sport but also helps bring expats in Viet Nam together to have fun, pleasure, and make friends," Mucha, who won the first prize in the men's sprint event, said.
Ames, a former skier, who also finished first in the women's sprint, works in Viet Nam as a consultant for several footwear companies.
"We often live far away … the triathlon today was another good occasion for us to come together," she said.
Michael Liddell, 66, who was awarded a special prize as the oldest racer in the competition, said the beauty of Viet Nam's beaches was one of the reasons he wanted to take part in the Le Fruit Triathlon.
"I have been always excited by the beauty of Mui Ne. But it was unfortunate that my wife, the president of RMIT in Viet Nam, could not enjoy the event with me," he said. — VNS