Viet Nam News
Vũ Văn Sơn, a 23-year-old marathon runner in the Ninh Bình marathon team, recently won the Tiền Phong Marathon and has been selected to compete in Seagame 29 in Malaysia. Sơn talks to Hồng Vân about his marathon journey and preparation for the competition.
You finished in first place in the men’s 42 kilometres with a time of 2h26’39’’ in Tiền Phong Marathon. Are you surprised with the result?
I was obviously surprised when I was the first to cross the finish line because I had never outperformed Thế Anh from the Army [the winner of marathon 2016] on practice runs or previous competitions.
I would say it was all about the great determination I had. I wanted to achieve something to make my hometown of Ninh Bình proud. On the other hand, I have pursued marathon running for two years, so 42 kilometres is within my reach.
How long have you been running?
I started pursuing track and field almost ten years ago. In 2007 I partipated in the Ninh Bình run (an annual 2-3km competition in the northern province of Ninh Bình). Before that, I had no idea about track and field, yet the more I practiced, the more I loved it as it is good for the health.
As for the marathon, it was in 2015 that Mr Lã Hoàng Minh Đạo [Vice Director of Ninh Bình’s Sports Centre who manages tracks and records of athletes] suggested I shift to marathons because earlier, I chose the 5-10 kilometre distance and hadn’t had any major achievement.
What do you like about being in the Ninh Bình team?
I received great training and mentorship from the coaches here. In Ninh Bình, we also have really good places for practice. One that needs to be mentioned is the Tràng An Landscape site. It has a favourable climate with a spacious road. While I was practicing, locals would cheer for me and encourage me.
Shifting to marathon must be a challenging decision?
Initially, when I shifted to marathon, I was overwhelmingly anxious and had no confidence in being able to make it. When I competed in the 42-kilometre marathon in Sài Gòn for the first time, I almost couldn’t finish the last kilometres. Yet I still had to make an effort and dragged myself to the finish line. That was the biggest failure for me.
Yet I practised more, adding intensity day by day.
By March last year, I joined the Tiền Phong Marathon in Cần Thơ and won a bronze medal. Later in November, I won a silver in Long Biên. This was a great motivation for me to pursue other marathons.
Thinking back your ten years in track and field and marathon, what is your proudest moment?
I am always proud and feel grateful to my father who gave me loving care while I practiced and trained. When I was in high school, I was a tough and stubborn student who really upset my parents and teachers. At that time, I was undergoing training and lived away from my parents. For many times, I wanted to quit and go back home, but the teachers did not accept this and made me stay. Now I feel thankful for that.
What does your daily practice consist of?
For a marathon, athletes need to spend much time in training and practice to develop endurance. Every day I run 30 to 40 kilometres with interval workouts during which I alternate rapid and slow runs of two kilometres in between.
I just hope that eveyone, whether young or old, would spend time running in the morning as it is obviously good for the heart and lungs.
You have been selected to compete in Seagame to be held in Malaysia this August. Are you hopeful?
This is the first time I have been selected for Seagame, so it will be a precious opportunity for me to gain more experience and learn lessons. I have all the determination to succeed. We are now in Ba Vì preparing for the competition. Ba Vì is a suitable place for endurance training with slopes and mountainous geography. — VNS