|Nguyễn Thị Nhớ Hoài celebrates winning the women’s 70km category at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon held in Mộc Châu District, Sơn La Province. — Photo courtesy of the organisers|
MỘC CHÂU — Nguyễn Thị Nhớ Hoài and Nguyễn Tiến Hùng won the Việt Nam Trail Marathon held in Mộc Châu District, Sơn La Province on Saturday.
Hoài who ran for Newborns Việt Nam, came first in the women’s 70km category with a total time of 11:22.00. She looked very strong at the finish line with an 18 minute gap to second place Vũ Thị Lan Hương.
“This is the first trail race by Topas that I joined. I am shortsighted and I did not wear my glasses but the markings were really good that I could run fast without fearing being lost. The checkpoint staff were also very supportive, they helped me a lot.
“The course was also very beautiful. Along the trails are the plum gardens which I can imagine how amazing they will look like in blossom season in January. One more thing to say is how friendly the local people are here. They are super friendly and welcomed us along the course,” Hoài said at the finish line.
Vũ Thị Lan Hương and Akane Nemoto of Japan were the runners-up with a time of 11:47.23 and 11:49.51, respectively.
The route took runners along stunning trails through orchards and remote ethnic villages before eventually finishing in the Đồi Chè Trái Tim (Heart-Shaped Tea Field).
Meanwhile, the men’s champion of the 70km was Nguyễn Tiến Hùng. He took the lead from the start and built up a long lead eventually finishing with a time of 7:55.28.
|Nguyễn Tiến Hùng is welcomed by children in Mộc Châu. — Photo courtesy of the organisers|
Hùng said: “Today is my 38th birthday so I am very happy to win the race. The markings this year is excellent, much better than other races I have joined.
"The race took place on the harvest season, so it might somehow affect our view because the trees are full of fruits and leaves, but I can say that the markings were very helpful. Also, all the checkpoints had plenty of delicious food, the organisation was perfect. It has been a long time since I ran a trail race and I enjoyed it very much”.
Second place in this category was Nguyễn Sĩ Hiếu ahead of Romain Berion from France by four minutes.
In the men’s 42km event, the champion was Trần Duy Quang. He said: “The trails were very beautiful today. The weather was cool, so I liked it a lot. Mộc Châu people are very friendly, they treated us with a lot of plums along the course. So I ate them a lot!”
The top three female 42km runners are Christine Mitchell from England, Vietnamese Lê Phương Vy and Constance Louasse from France.
This race was part of Việt Nam Trail Series by Topas, which also includes Sa Pa’s Việt Nam Mountain Marathon and Pù Luông’s Việt Nam Jungle Marathon.
|A runner in the Việt Nam Trail Marathon this year. — Photo courtesy of the organisers|
The Mộc Châu event was the third race added to the series. Mộc Châu was chosen for its spectacular trails and unique landscapes as well as the hospitable welcome extended to organisers and runners by both the local authorities and the local people.
Race director, David Lloyd said: “The Sơn La and Mộc Châu authorities are a pleasure to work with. They see the value that a large trail run brings in terms of immediate tourism income and also acting as a great advert for the area for future visitors."
Like other races by Topas, each long distance (21km-70km) entry includes a donation to charity.
Topas welcomed back three long term charity partners to the race: Newborns Việt Nam, Operation Smile and Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.
Next month Newborns is signing a three-year Memorandum of Understanding which covers life saving training for three hospitals in the area. This work is a direct result of Việt Nam Trail Marathon and is also partly funded by local runners.
In September, The Sa Pa event, Việt Nam Mountain Marathon will include the nation’s first 100 miles (163km) run. It is set to attract 5,000 runners and many supporters. — VNS