|Trần Duy Quang competes in the Ultra Asia Race last year. Photo courtesy of Trần Duy Quang|
Trần Duy Quang, 29, has only been running for three years but has already won a number of events. He triumphed in the men’s 70km category of the Dalat Ultra Trail International Marathon in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng in March and is the first Vietnamese runner to win the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon in Sa Pa, Lào Cai Province, which is one of the largest ultra-running events in Asia and a landmark event in Southeast Asia. Thanh Nga catches up with him.
Inner Sanctum: You have won the Dalat Ultra Trail International Marathon which attracted some 2,300 domestic and foreign runners. How did you feel?
I was very happy to overcome international archrivals from New Zealand, India, Singapore and Japan to triumph in this event.
Inner Sanctum: Which was your most impressive thing in the Dalat Ultra Trail International Marathon?
The event ran through very beautiful pine forests. When the sunrise appeared, sunlight went through hills of pine trees which stretched as far as the eye could see. The trail was a hardship with up and down slopes and hills.
I also enjoyed the race a lot as I ran via well-known destinations in Đà Lạt City such as Lâm Viên Square, Vàng Valley, Love Valley, Langbian Mountain and Bidoup National Park.
Inner Sanctum: Via running, what messages do you want to send everybody?
The people’s strength is unlimited. They can overcome challenges which at first they think that they cannot control. You should venture, cling to your target and complete it.
Inner Sanctum: What did you do to prepare for the Đà Lạt’s event?
I spent 2 to 3 hours after finishing my work in the afternoon to train. I also practised running in the noon and ran on the sloping paths to familiarise myself with the roads in Đà Lạt City.
I also prepare the food, water, neat and qualitative clothes for every running event. Depending on each terrain, runners must have suitable shoes. Rookies must train harder and learn from the experience of veterans to run methodically, strengthen their physical strength and avoid injuries.
Inner Sanctum: Returning a little bit to the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon 2017(VMM) in which you became the first Vietnamese winning the 100km race which is the longest and most severe in Việt Nam at present. How do you compare the 70km race in Đà Lạt to the 100km race in Sa Pa?
Each place has a different topography so each event has a different difficulties. In the VMM, participants will have to run via different kinds of terrain such as going over the mountain, fording springs, running on cobblestones, thick mud and rice fields.
In Sa Pa last year, I ran 100km through the night from 10pm to 11am next day. I only stopped to eat several bananas, drink some medicines to resist muscle contraction. Running ceaselessly all night in the forest is also my hobby. I have run through the night in Sơn Trà Mountain many times to train without feeling sleepy.
|Trần Duy Quang seen in the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon in Sa Pa, Lào Cai Province last year. Photo courtesy of Trần Duy Quang|
Inner Sanctum: After completing your goals in two events, did you have any injuries?
I was lucky enough not to have any serious injuries. After each event, only my feet had blisters so I had to take several days of rest to recover my strength.
Inner Sanctum: Ultral trail marathons always contain risks and surprises as many runners have to give up the race because of injuries, or suffer digestion problems or a sudden decrease in body temperatures. Even they have to stop when they are near the finish line because they cannot run anymore. Do you have any secrets to win without any serious injuries?
I train very hard everyday to familiarise myself with things which can happen in the race to reduce misfortunes.
Inner Sanctum: Which roads do you like running best?
I like running rough terrain roads and mountain paths as at that time, as I will be one with the nature.
In fact, I like running long distance alone. I feel the freedom of running in nature. Pain is a thing which I will pass during the isolated and long journey. It seems crazy but I like this feeling very much.
Inner Sanctum: Can you tell me the longest distance which you overcame?
I completed the 160km challenge in 32 hours continuously in November, 2016 to raise fund for Newborns Việt Nam, a great charity that works to reduce infant mortality. That is my most severe challenge.
Inner Sanctum: When did you find your passion for running?
I have run long distance for three years. I love it very much because it attracts me into trials to conquer. Earlier, I played football, climbed mountain and went trekking. I climbed most of the high mountains in the North.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have advice for people who want to run in rough terrain roads and mountain paths, especially those who want to compete in the VMM’s 100km race for the first time?
Running in rough terrain roads and mountain paths require endurance and will power. So you need to have a long time to train to adapt with severity and overcome the issues with your body.
For me, before taking part in the VMM’s 100km, I tested myself in 100km on flat road and then learnt from this experience to train better.
Inner Sanctum: Does your love for running affect your work?
Yes, of course. Thanks to running. I am stronger and ready to face obstacles in life and work.
Inner Sanctum: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I was born and brought up in Bình Định Province. Now I live in Đà Nẵng City and work for xedike.vn which is a start up focusing on passenger transportation.
Inner Sanctum: What’s your plan this year?
I will complete the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in August which is also known as the UTMB. It is the most expected trail-running event for trail-runners from all over the world. I must run the 171km crossing three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. It will be a very difficult challenge and is the dream of many runners in the world. — VNS