Runners eager to compete in 160km distance for first time in VMM

August, 31/2022 - 09:15
The 160km race route will be from Sa Pa to the top of Silverstone Mountain which is extremely steep and then going down to CP7 point which will be all-terrain roads.  

 

Runner Nguyễn Tiến Hùng trains in Sa Pa to prepare for the 160km category in the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon 2022. — Photo courtesy of Hùng

Marathon

By Thanh Nga

HÀ NỘI — Runners are eager to compete in the 160km category which will be held for the first time in the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon (VMM) 2022 next month in Sa Pa.

This year, the oldest and largest terrain marathon in the country will attract 5,200 athletes competing in seven distances,10km, 15km, 21km, 42km, 70km, 100km and 160km.

For the category of 160km which will be held for the first time in Việt Nam, there will be 177 domestic and foreign athletes, 162 men and 15 women.

Previously, the longest trail running distance held in Việt Nam was 100km, this is also a distance that only very few people have completed in Việt Nam and this is also one of the conditions for runners to be allowed to register for the 160km division in this year’s event.

According to the event’s organising board, the 160km track will be specially designed, with highlights that no athlete has ever experienced in the previous seasons.

The 160km race route will be from Sa Pa to the top of Silverstone Mountain which is extremely steep and then going down to CP7 point which will be all-terrain roads. This is a very beautiful part, but extremely difficult and dangerous. The advice for ultra runners is not to exert too much effort in the first stages, to avoid being exhausted later on.

The first part of the 160km race is the only track for athletes at this distance. It has been cherished by the organisers for a long time and is the result of the dream of taking athletes to high mountains in Sa Pa. The total altitude of the whole distance is about 10,000m.

The athletes will then enter the 100km track along with the runners of this distance.

A special feature for runners of 160km is that they will be served a buffet meal at CP103 point to have the power to complete the remaining 70km of the 160km race.

Although the 160km event is considered super difficult, runners are eager to compete and have planned to prepare actively.

Nguyễn Tiến Hùng and his friend practise in Sa Pa. — Photo courtesy of Hùng

For Nguyễn Tiến Hùng, who is considered the best amateur runner in the country and was part of Việt Nam national duathlon (run-bike-run) team for the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines in 2019, has been training in Sa Pa Town for a month to prepare for his longest trail competition.

“This new challenge is rather difficult because I myself have never run such a long distance, however, I am eager to conquer it and hope I will complete it,” Hùng told Việt Nam News.

“I love Sa Pa's terrain with many beautiful sights and friendly people so I always like races held here.

Hùng, a native of the northern province of Phú Thọ, won two consecutive VMM 100km races so he has much experience for the upcoming race.

Meanwhile, Trần Duy Quang, the 2017 VMM 100km champion, has just recruited the first 70km pacer to fulfill his ambition to achieve high results in the first 160km run in Việt Nam.

Quang’s requirement for the pacer is to be able to run 70km under nine hours, to support him in nutrition planning and time allocation at stop points, to use GPS watches well, to observe the night well and make sure not to get lost.

In 2019, Quang completed the 246km race in the Spartathlon event in Greece with a time of 31 hours, 10 minutes and 37 seconds to rank 40th out of 196 athletes. Spartathlon is one of the world's most extreme long-distance races. The athletes participating in the tournament must run for no more than 36 hours for that distance across Greece, starting from Athens and finishing at the foot of the statue of Leonidas, in Sparta.

Runner Trần Duy Quang said his mind is always excited to think of the dream tournaments waiting ahead. — Photo courtesy of Quang

“My legs are sometimes in a state of fatigue because of training, but my mind is always excited to think of the dream tournaments waiting ahead,” Quang said.

To prepare for the 160km VMM race, Quang has been training hard in HCM City. He and his friends will organise experience-sharing meets ahead of the event in Sa Pa with leading Vietnamese and regional elite runners.

In addition, other runners all over the country also train in locations with suitable terrain like Sa Pa to prepare for the event.

The distance of 160km will start at 4am on September 9, while the other distances will begin on September 10-11 in Sa Pa. — VNS

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