Trần Duy Quang (left) celebrates his victory in the men’s 100km category with David Lloyd, race director.
— Photo Sam Wilson
HÀ NỘI — Trần Duy Quang, a Vietnamese national, won the 100km race at the fifth edition of the Việt Nam Mountain Marathon (VMM).
The marathon, which concluded in Sa Pa on September 24, is one of the biggest ultra-running events in Asia and a landmark event on the Southeast Asia calendar.
Quang beat rivals from all over the world, by running through the long, dark night over the highest peaks of Việt Nam, to take the lead with a time of 13:17.35. Manolita Divina from the Philippines finished second, and the third place went to Cao Ngọc Hà of Việt Nam.
On the women’s side, Kim Matthews of Australia triumphed with a time of 17:52.23, followed by Hoa Banh of Australia and Nguyễn Thị Đường of Việt Nam.
“The weather was great for the race. I really enjoyed running through the terraced fields and Mông villages. Running in Sa Pa is always a great pleasure. My result has improved as compared to last year, and I reached my goal of 100km in less than 15 hours. This is also the first VMM edition I ran for, to support the NGO, Newborns Việt Nam, with the hope that more people support their amazing work,” said Quang.
Matthews, winner of the women’s 100km, said “It’s the best race I’ve run, with the best volunteers, the best route, the best marking and the best scenery, and I loved it!”
In the men’s 70km race, Graham Knight of Great Britain took the lead with a time of 9:03.22. Nguyễn Quang of Việt Nam and Julien Petit of France were the runners-up.
On the women’s side, Nadia Koucha of France ranked first with a time of 10:32.33. Christine Loh Woon Chze of Malaysia and Catherine Wilson of Great Britain finished second and third, respectively.
“The event’s 70km category was really the hardest race I’ve ever run but I’m so glad I took part in it. Watching the sunrise over Fansipan was such an incredible experience, and the scenery is spectacular. I chose to run for Newborns Việt Nam to raise awareness about the amazing work they are doing to improve medical care for premature babies in Việt Nam. I’d encourage everyone to find out more about them and support their work,” said Knight.
Kim Matthews of Australia, winner of the women’s 100km race. — Photo Sam Wilson
In the 42km race, Boyoung Jang of South Korea triumphed in the women’s category, after clocking a time of 4:15.02, while Jisub Kim from South Korea took the lead with a time of 2:10.26 in the men’s category.
Bàn Thị May of Việt Nam defeated some 350 rivals to take the lead in the women’s 10km race, with a time of 1:04:57, followed by her teammates Hoàng Thị Thấm and Mộc Thùy Linh.
In the men’s event, Junwei Ng of Singapore beat some 300 participants, with a time of 52 minutes and 35 seconds. Vietnamese Lê Văn Tuấn Anh and Giàng A Súng were the runners-up.
This year, the tournament saw the participation of 2,500 runners from 50 nations. Well-known runners also competed in the race, including the British Ambassador to Việt Nam, Giles Lever, TV host Thùy Dung, actress Vũ Thị Hoàng My and Miss Universe Việt Nam 2017 judge Nguyễn Hương Giang.
“We started this race five years ago because of our love for the mountains, so it is now fantastic to see 2,500 people from all over the world enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the north and sharing our passion for the area,” said David Lloyd, race director. “It was also excellent to see so many Vietnamese runners taking podium spots.”
“We look forward to our next trail race, the Việt Nam Jungle Marathon in Pù Luông Nature Reserve in Thanh Hóa Province, next year,” Lloyd said.
The race has a strong charitable focus and thousands of dollars have been donated to good causes since 2013. This year, over US$35,000 will be divided between local projects around Sapa and Newborns Việt Nam, which works to ensure healthy outcomes for newborn babies.