Vietnamese runner Trần Duy Quang reaches the finish line of the second Việt Nam Trail Marathon. — Photo courtesy of the organising board
MỘC CHÂU — Vietnamese runner Trần Duy Quang defended his title at the second Việt Nam Trail Marathon in Mộc Châu District, in the northern province of Sơn La over the weekend.
Quang won the men's event over 70km with a time of 7:06.56, smashing his previous record of 7:59.44.
The brave 70km ultra runners began in darkness at 4am in Mộc Châu. They raced with headlamps and then ran through blossoming orchards at sunrise. The route took them along stunning trails, through remote villages and finished at the Đồi Chè Trái Tim (Heart Tea Hills).
On the eve of the race, Quang said: “My target at VTM this year is to take 20 minutes off my time from last year.” In fact, he took almost an hour off that time, smashing the course record. At the finish line, Quang said: “I am very happy to have exceeded my goal and the trails were even more beautiful than last year.”
In second place was Đỗ Trọng Nhơn who tracked Quang closely until checkpoint 4 before Quang broke away. Nhơn’s time was 7:51.07, and in third place was Koichi Hirose from Japan. He finished the race in 8:25.48.
The women's ultra marathon saw Nguyễn Thị Đường from Việt Nam take first place in 10:33.12. Second place went to Nguyễn Thùy Dung, followed by Toshie Noda from Japan.
Runners race at tea hills at Mộc Châu. — Photo courtesy of the organising board
In the men's 42km race, Markus Gnirck from Germany won with a time of 4:27.28.
“This is an incredible race – amazing trails and great support all along them,” said Gnirck.
Gnirck beat Aleksandr Firsov from Russia and Liam Shay Fitzpatrick from Australia.
Meanwhile, in the women's 42km event, Vanja Cnops from Belgium won with a time of 4:56.37, 30 minutes faster than her time last year when she also won the race. Second was Joane Etiene from Switzerland and in third was Lèo Thị Tình from Việt Nam.
Runners at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon held in Mộc Châu District, northern mountain province of Sơn La, over the weekend. — Photo courtesy of the organising board
At the startline of the 10km race were local runners including Hà Diệu Thúy, a 16-year-old Thái girl from Vặt Village, who trained every day since signing up for the event.
“I have never been in a race before. So I was feeling nervous, but eager,” Thuý said.
“I think the race is a wonderful experience for runners. The course goes through the orchards, blossom gardens and small ethnic villages, so runners can discover the area at its most beautiful,” she added.
One of the standout runners was British Ambassador Gareth Ward who was at the 10km start line with more than other 1,000 runners.
This was also his first trail race in Việt Nam.
“This is the first time I’ve been to Mộc Châu. Right after coming here, I can feel the difference, maybe the landscapes, maybe the climate, maybe the vegetation...I don’t know yet but I like it very much and I’m going to be back,” said Ward.
He finished very strongly not far off the podium times in his first ever 10km trail run.
The event saw almost 3,100 runners from 42 nations. The number of runners was up 65 per cent compared to year one, making this the biggest one day event held by the organiser, Topas.
“This year, we were lucky to have incredible weather and the area’s famous blossom was in full bloom. The people who joined have certainly seen Mộc Châu at its very best and experienced the warmth of the local people who were out in force cheering,” said founder and race director, David Lloyd.
“Through this race, we have also raised around US$40,000 for charity, bringing the total from our races to over $300,000. The Việt Nam Trail Marathon is about much more than sport,” Lloyd added. — VNS
Small girls seen at the Việt Nam Trail Marathon. — Photo courtesy of the organising board