After being postponed due to Covid-19 in January, this Saturday thousands of Vietnam-based runners from 48 nations raced from 5k to 70km on trails through the orchards and tea fields of Moc Chau. Vietnam’s top homegrown talent faced off with strong French expat competition, while celebrity runners include singer Đức Tuấn, traveller Trần Đặng Đăng Khoa and writer Trang Hạ.
Thousands race third edition of Vietnam Trail Marathon 2021
Vietnam Trail Marathon is well-known for the natural beauty of the region and friendly and hospitable locals. The running route took runners on stunning trails through orchards , remote minority villages and finished at the Doi che Trai Tim (Heart Shaped Tea Field).
The running route took runners on stunning trails through orchards
Like other races by Topas, each long distance (21km-70km) entry includes a donation to charity. Almost US$ 30,134 will be divided between local projects around Moc Chau, the work of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation; life changing surgery for children through Operation Smile; and saving lives through Newborns Vietnam.
NEW TRAIL STAR IS BORN
In the women’s field, first time ultra runner Hà Thị Hậu of Vietnam took the victory, beating established trail runners, Axelle de Feraudy of France and VMM 100k champ Nguyễn Thị Đường of Vietnam. Hau is a mountain girl, hailing from Sapa where she regularly runs the hills and is also a running guide for Topas.
“It is amazing to win at my first ultra race against so many other competitors. I feel I earned this victory as I trained around 15km in the Sapa mountains on a daily basis and I also had to try very hard along the course. The weather was very hot, especially from CP5 to CP6. It was a challenge for the mind as well as the body.”, Hậu said.
Hà Thị Hậu won her first ultra race
“My next goal is VMM Nam Cang 52km on 12 June and then perhaps VMM 100 miles”, she added.
In the 70km male battle, the winner was Valentin Orange of France who beat Phạm Đức Luân (Vietnam) and Nguyễn Văn Long (Vietnam) into second and third.
“It was a beautiful route through Moc Chau,” said Valentin at the finish, where he looked very strong despite running 70k, much of which was under the strong April sun.
Vietnamese celebrity runners
On the 42k start line this year were two Operation Smile’s Ambassadors including Duc Tuan and traveller Trần Đặng Đăng Khoa. They both ran Vietnam Trail Marathon for the first time. Trần Đặng Đăng Khoa finsihed the race after 11:44:03 while Đức Tuấn DNF at CP5.
Traveller Trần Đặng Đăng Khoa ran 42k for Operation Smile
The 70k this year saw the ‘running writer’ Trang Hạ who ran 70k for her first time at VTM. She is also signed up for 70k distance at Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2021 on 27-29 Aug in Sapa and Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2021 on Oct 16 in Pu Luong.