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A RECORD BREAKING VJM

After being postponed due to Covid-19 back in May, on Saturday 24 Oct almost 1,100 runners raced distances of up to 70k at the fourth edition of Vietnam Jungle Marathon.


Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 and the postponing of the race in May, the number of runners at Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2020 was up by 30% compared to the 2019 race, making this the biggest Vietnam Jungle Marathon (VJM) event ever.

“We are delighted to be able to organise this race in a year when many events have been cancelled due to covid-19,” said David Lloyd, founder of VJM and Director of Sport at Topas Travel.  “Just getting to the start line, let alone the finish, felt like a victory for runners and organisers alike. As ever at VJM, we had some great racing with some close battles ensuing along the stunning trails of Pu Luong,” he added.  

 

This year saw a competitive race day among Vietnam-based runners as nobody from overseas was able to come and compete. All distances from 10k to 70k  had new course records, helped by the cooler weather in October.

The winner of the male 70km was Romain Berion of France who finished in a total time of 7:34:32.  He beat his compatriot Gaetan Morizur (France) into second place. 

At the finish line Romain said: “The weather was cooler and the landscape was amazing. Thank you the organizer for this amazing race. I will be back for Vietnam Mountain Marathon in November.”

Third 70k place was Quang Nguyen (Vietnam) who also stood on the podium last year.

 

The female ultra marathon saw Nguyen Thuy Dung from Vietnam take first place in a time of 9:36:41. 

After her victory Dung said: “I am very happy to win for the first time at a Topas trail race . We were all very lucky today because the weather was so beautiful.

 

She beat Nguyễn Thị Đường, reversing the result of Vietnam Trail Marathon where Duong beat Dung into second. Hiền Trần (Czech Republic) rounded out the podium in third place. Đường’s total time was 10:16:24 while Hiền ran in 10:44:29.

In the 55k, Nathalie Cochet (France) came first in a total time of  8:12:48. She beat her compatriot Constance Louasse into second with Vietnam’s Lê Thẩm Thúy Hằng taking third.

In the men’s 55km, Trung Nguyen took first place. His total time was 6:43:56, breaking the course record. 

At the finish line Trung said: “The race is always very special to me. VJM was my very first trail race which has built my love for trail running. I am very happy that I did  break the record this year. It is thanks to the second place Paul Rioux who ran together with me and pushed me to the finish line.”

The second and third place 55k males were Paul Rioux from France and Vũ Tiến Việt Dũng from Vietnam.

The 42k saw a great battle between Quang Trần and elite road runner Phạm Tiến Sản. Quang Tran eventually proved too fast over the technical parts of the course and completed the race in 3:37:56, taking the win and also breaking the course record.

After his victory, Quang said: “In the first 25km I had to try my very best to chase Sản. He ran uphill very, very fast, leaving me behind. It was not until The Spike that I got the advantage on some very technical trails to overcome Sản. He just started to run trails, so he will definitely be the one to watch.”

(Note: Full results can be found online at 

https://vietnamtrailseries.com/jungle-marathon/results/results-2020/ )

 

More than sport

“The race has provided a welcome tourism boost to an area that has seen tourism numbers fall dramatically this year. Some of the homestay owners we have spoken to have had almost no guests for months, so bringing people back to Pu Luong and helping to re-invigorate the tourism economy was an important aspect of the event.” , Lloyd added.

“Furthermore, we added  US$ 13,815 to the total we have raised for charity which now stands at close to $300,000. In the past three years the race has funded life changing surgery for children through Operation Smile and drowning prevention programs through Hue Help. This year the funds will be focussed on education projects in the local area,” said Lloyd.

 

A prelude to Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2020

VJM came just one month ahead of the highlight of the mountain running year, Sapa’s Vietnam Mountain Marathon, which will take place on the November 20 weekend. Last year VMM saw more than 4000 runners compete at what many here call the ‘Trail Runner’s Tet’.

Registration for VMM 2020 is still open and runners can choose distances from 10km up to 100km. This year the race is set to add a much needed boost to Sapa’s tourism economy.

Charity donations

Topas races have a strong charitable focus and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to good causes since 2013. Up to now, Topas Vietnam Trail Series has given US$ 285,400 to charity thanks to the donations that come from every long distance (over 15k) race fee.

In the past three years the race has funded life changing surgery for children through Operation Smile and drowning prevention programs through Hue Help.

At the fourth edition of Vietnam Jungle Marathon, US$ 13,815 was allocated for charitable work in Thanh Hoa province with a focus on education projects.