|Manuel Aliprandi from Italy won the men’s 70km race at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon. — Photo courtesy of the organiser|
MỘC CHÂU — Manuel Aliprandi from Italy won the men’s 70km race at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon (VTM) held in Mộc Châu Town, Mộc Châu District, Sơn La Province on Saturday.
“It was very random for me to participate in the VTM 2023. My girlfriend and I were having a holiday in Việt Nam when we accidentally found the race. We then decided to reschedule the whole trip to take part in it,” Aliprandi said.
“I do not regret this decision. The race was amazing. The scenery is beautiful and pristine. The locals are super friendly. In addition, all staff at the VTM make it better with their friendliness and helpful support. The atmosphere is unique at the VTM, and I would say it was not something that you see every day!” Aliprandi added.
The female winner of 70km was Vũ Thị Lan Hương. She earned second place at the VTM 2022 and Việt Nam Jungle Marathon 2022 at a 70km distance. VTM 2023 is her first win at Việt Nam Trail Series (VTS).
|Vũ Thị Lan Hương, the female winner of the 70km category. — Photo courtesy of the organiser|
Hương said: “I am so happy. The weather is amazing here in Mộc Châu, and I have great participants running with me. The VTM 2023 is meaningful to me as it is my first win at a VTS race. Thank you, Topas, for having organised all the races very professionally. All routes had great scenery and clear markings, making all runners feel assured to complete the race with their best performance!”
The VTM 2023 also created lovely memories and stories for the participants.
One of them was the story of Nguyễn Hữu Trí, a popular Vietnamese Youtuber and a runner. Having participated in three seasons of the Việt Nam Trail Marathon this year, he returned at the 42km distance and shared an adorable story at the race.
After running for the first 11km, Trí got injured and could not wear his shoes anymore, so he was looking for a place to borrow flip-flops. Lucky for Trí, an “auntie” on the way brought him the only pair in her house, even though he did not carry any money.
Trí shared: “I was so grateful for them that I kissed her on the cheeks. She was surprised because of my reaction and gave me a big smile. If she did not give me the flip-flops, I would have never been able to complete the race! They were the only pair in her house, and she gave them to me. This tells you a lot about the support of Mộc Châu people for the VTM, and I believe this story will stay with me forever.”
At this year’s race, famous runners such as actor Nhan Phúc Vinh running 70km and 42km runner Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã, the first Vietnamese woman to climb Everest, also took part in the event.
Vinh ran the 21km distance at the VTM 2021, 70km at the VJM 2022 and the VTM 2023. He gained interest in running for Topas from a conversation with Operation Smiles.
Vinh said: “I started running when I had a talk to Việt from Operation Smile, which convinced me to run Topas races. Besides the ambitions of running like other runners, running is a way to raise funds for children via this organisation. Since then, I do not feel there is any reason not to run. Therefore, I participated in the Việt Nam Jungle Marathon in Pù Luông and then the VTM. The running results also started improving since I started running more. I will return and hopefully make it a motivation for other runners to run for a good cause!”
|On Saturday, Mộc Châu welcomed thousands of runners racing up to 70km. — Photo courtesy of the organiser|
On Saturday, Mộc Châu welcomed thousands of runners racing up to 70km on stunning trails in remote mountains and through minority villages and blossom-filled orchards. Plus, money raised goes to local neo-natal care and poor households.
Established in 2019, the VTM has grown to become one of the largest mountain runs in the nation, with 3,500 runners taking part this year.
Since it began, the race has brought more than 13,000 runners to experience the warm hospitality and stunning scenery of Mộc Châu.
|A runner competes at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon. — Photo courtesy of the organiser|
The Việt Nam Trail Series has raised around US$390,000 (VNĐ9.2 billion) for good causes.
“This year, the money raised will be used for projects at Mộc Châu hospitals alongside improving the houses of poor families in the area around the racecourse,” said David Lloyd, Race Director at Topas Việt Nam Trail Series.
The next Topas race will be the 10th anniversary of the nation’s first-ever ultra-trail, the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon, established in 2013. VNS