Viet Nam News
SA PA — Hanoian Nguyễn Tiến Hùng won the men’s 100km event at the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon (VMM), the country’s biggest ever mountain race, which ended in Sa Pa, Lào Cai Province over the weekend.
Hùng beat more than 200 rivals from across the world to triumph in a time of 14:45.44.
Hùng is the second Vietnamese runner to win the event’s ultra distance.
Last year, Trần Duy Quang won the event.
Second place went to Hisashi Kitamura from Japan and third belonged to David Fontaine from France.
Participants ran through the long, dark night in the highest peaks of Việt Nam and stunning rice terraces and ethnic minority villages to the finish line, Topas Ecolodge, which was recently voted number one on the National Geographic list of places to stay if you care about the environment.
“This is the second time I ran in the VMM. Last year, my result was 17 hours, so this year my aim was just to finish the race. Furthermore, I registered for the race quite late in August, so I did not have much time for training. I only trained for road running, not trail at all like other runners. Luckily I got the podium finally,” said Hùng.
Meanwhile, the female 100km champion was Evelyn Lek from Singapore after clocking a time of 17:57.29, followed by Nathalie Cochet of France, and Hoa Banh of Australia. Banh is of Vietnamese descent.
“When the 100km, category prepared to start, runners boarded the buses in Sa Pa to the start line, crowds cheered them like warriors going into battle. After up to 24 hours of running they were then welcomed to the finish line as heroes and the sense of occasion and camaraderie at Topas Ecolodge was once again incomparable,” said David Lloyd, Race Director.
In the men’s 70km race, Vietnamese Nguyễn Sĩ Hiếu of Chicks Hunters Club finished first with a time of 9:47.09. Robert West of the United Kingdom and Julien Petit of France were the runners-up.
On the women’s side, mainland Chinese Qian Zhao triumphed with a time of 7:49.47. Chinese Hong Kong’s Ngon Sin Fan and Jefferlyn Castillano of the Philippines took second and third place, respectively.
Another runner of the United Kingdom Sarah Easton shone in the women’s 42km with a time of 6:42.37. The following positions went to Vietnamese runners Đặng Lưu Phương Anh and Lê Thị Lý.
This year’s event attracted 3,400 runners from 54 nations, 40 per cent more runners than the previous edition.
The VMM has a charitable focus, donating thousands of dollars since 2013. This year’s race saw more than US$38,000 divided between Operation Smile and Newborns Việt Nam.
Founded in 2013 by Topas Travel, the VMM is one of the biggest ultra-running events in Asia and the landmark event on the South East Asia calendar. — VNS