Run to inspire people

February 15, 2018 - 09:30

Vietnamese runners have made their marks not only on local routes, but also on well-known tracks throughout the world.

Phạm Duy Cường tests his skills on Everest in 2017. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI - The running movement spread throughout Việt Nam in 2017, as Vietnamese runners set records that could not have been imagined in earlier times. Runners made their marks not only on local routes, but also on well-known tracks throughout the world.

Last May, the Việt Nam national flag was hoisted on Everest peak when Phạm Duy Cường finished the 42,195km race at the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon.

Cường, 35, from Hà Nội, finished the race with a time of 7hr 47.07min and ranked No 71 out of 202 competitors.

This is an annual tournament which is considered as the world’s highest marathon.

It is an international high altitude adventure sports event held from the Mt. Everest Base Camp, crisscrossing through the high sherpa trails in Khumbu Valley on May 29 every year.

Cường has become more famous due to the marathon. He has since established the “Chạy Vì Mình - Run For Self” club, where runners can exchange their experiences in running and organising events.

Five months after Everest, Cường opened a non-profit sport event company called Big Prizes, which focuses on organising running tournaments which, according to him, provide the best prize of all, good health for all its participants.

Despite being a new company, Big Prizes holds event every week for fans of running in Hà Nội.

Cường was pleased with what he has done to promote running in the capital city, as well as in Việt Nam, in general.

Within a short time, some 30 running events have been created and are being sponsored for communities, as well as three charity events that have been held by “Chạy Vì Mình - Run For Self” and Big Prizes.

Cường has set up a target of at least 100 events in 2018, and he will take part in a marathon in the North Pole, which is the world’s coldest race.

A challenge conquered

Vũ Phương Thanh or Thanh Vũ may be the most famous marathoner in Việt Nam, as she has conquered the most difficult races in the world.

Thanh Vũ poses with the national flag during one of her marathon on deserts.

The 28-year-old from HCM City has challenged herself in routes that even men might be afraid of.

She took part in her first marathon in October, 2015, at the Atacama Crossing in Chile. During the next year she completed in all four legs of the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, which took place in the Sahara, Gobi and Atacama deserts, as well as the South Pole.

To date, Thanh is the first Asian, and one of 13 women in the world, who have perfected the Grand Slam, which covers some 1.000km.

Last May, Thanh participated in the 10-day 522km The Track in Australia. Four months later she took part in the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, a 167km run in the Alps. Thanh failed to finish that marathon, but it did not stop her from running.

The woman, who quit her job at Bloomberg in Singapore after years studying in Singapore, Canada and England, is scheduled to run in tournaments in North America and in the North Pole this year.

Thanh said running not only provided better health, but also sharpens a person’s willingness and courage.

She also wanted to encourage the nation’s youth, saying: “Don’t be afraid of difficulties and challenges. Our limit is set by ourselves.”

A record holder

At the age of 40, Nguyễn Trung Kiên or Kien Running, has set a record when running nearly 1,800km from Hà Nội to HCM City in the fastest time of 26 days.

Nguyễn Trung Kiên runs at the 2017 Vietnam Mountain Marathon.

Kiên started at 5.20am October 22, 2017 at Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hà Nội, and reached Independence Palace in HCM City at 4.22pm on November 16.

Kiên, who ran an average of 70km per day, said it was not only a test of his limits, but also to encourage Vietnamese people to become more active, especially those youths who spend too much time with social networks and smart phones.

The man with tanned skin said he is now busy with many plans, in which he would run with the spirit of ‘never-give-up’.

An iron woman

After years of taking care of a sick mother, Nguyễn Thị Gia Huệ found that she should be a doctor for herself and become involved in sports to have a healthy life.

She first practised the triathlon, which includes cycling, swimming and running, and took part in the Ironman competition in Đà Nẵng, which is now her favourite tournament each year.

Iron woman Nguyễn Thị Gia Huệ during a tournament in 2017.

In three years in a row, from 2015-17, Huệ had no difficulty in topping the Ironman Việt Nam.

She earned her spot at the World Ironman in 2016 in Australia and in 2017 in the US.

Huệ said she could improve her strength, in both her physique and mental strength, through practising the Ironman sports.

It also helped her to become brave enough to throw herself into more difficult challenges.

In 2016, Huệ championed Challenge Việt Nam, held in Nha Trang, and became the first Vietnamese woman to win a berth in the Challenge Roth in Germany last July.

It is also a dream tournament for triathlon athletes throughout the world, in which the course is an Ultra Distance of 226.2km. — VNS