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Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2018 on horizon

Released at: 14:10, 21/09/2018

Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2018 on horizon

Photo: Vietnammountainmarathon.com

Some 3,400 runners from 54 countries and territories to compete around Sapa this weekend.

by Le Diem

The Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2018, one of the largest events in Asia and a landmark event in Southeast Asia, will take place on September 22 and 23 around the hills near Sapa in Vietnam’s north.

The number of the entrants is up 40 per cent against 2017, including many champions from international marathons.

As well as a full-distance 42-km marathon, other races include ultra-marathons of 70 km and 100 km, a half-marathon of 21 km, and 10-km and 15-km runs. The 15-km run is a new addition to this year’s event.

As well as conquering the challenge, runners can also take in the beauty of Vietnam in nice fall weather, from mountains to thousands of yellow rice fields, water buffaloes, and colorful ethnic minority groups. Small dirt roads and narrow trails take them through majestic mountains and valleys used only by local people.

The finish line is at Topas Ecolodge, which was voted No. 1 on a 2017 National Geographic list of places to stay if you care about the environment.

A fair and charity activities will also be organized. The Vietnam Mountain Marathon has helped secure donations in the thousands of dollars for the community since 2013. More than $38,000 will be donated this year to local projects operated by Operation Smile and Newborns Vietnam, to help support health among newborn babies.

First held in 2013 by Topas Travel, the Vietnam Mountain Marathon was the first mountain run in the country. At an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, Sapa is a major tourist destination in Vietnam’s north known for the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Mt. Fansipan (Indochina’s highest peak at 3,143 meters), terraced rice fields, dirt trails, and ethnic minority villages. “Our aims at the outset were to share the beauty of the northern trails with more people, both from Vietnam and overseas, and to encourage more people to get active in the outdoors,” said Mr. David Lloyd, Director of Sport at Topas Travel.

The race has seen an increasing number of runners over the years, from 200 in 2013 to 2,500 in 2017 and 3,400 this year. The proportion of Vietnamese has grown from around 2 per cent to well over 50 per cent. Last year, Tran Duy Quang from Vietnam won the 100-km race, making him the first Vietnamese to triumph in the ultra-marathon.

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