50km Ultra Marathon

IMPORTANT: Read the RACE RULES HERE.

Note: The 2024 route has very small adjustments. Updated video coming soon. 

Distance: 46.5km | Elevation gain 2,600m

Start time: 5:30, Saturday, 21-09-2024

Start location: Sapa Park (next to Sapa Square – Google maps)

Finish location: Topas Ecolodge – Google maps 

CUT-OFFS: 15:00 at CP4 – 17:00 at CP5 – 20:30 at CP6 – 22:00 at CP7 – 23:59:59 at FINISH

Age restriction: Entrants to VMM 50km must be at least 18 years old on race day.

Qualification: To run VMM 50km, you must have previously completed at least one official TRAIL race of 20km+. The race must be an official race, not a virtual race / club run. 

On registration, please provide a URL link to your qualifying result (Topas result link, UTMB Index, ITRA Index, or similar). If you plan to complete a qualifying race between now and race day, you must send us your result by 30 days prior to the race date.

Failure to provide evidence of a qualifying past performance will result in refusal of entry and the refund terms stand. 

Course description

Welcome to our tough, but spectacularly beautiful and rewarding 50km ultra trail. With 2,600m of gain, this is a race for those who truly love the mountains.   

The course starts in the middle of Sapa where you can expect a huge atmosphere.   

 

VMM ethnic minority_LUU_0618 (1)

The race kicks off with a short, flat section to Sapa’s lake. You then climb out of town, before dropping down into the hidden valley of Suoi Ho. Despite its proximity to Sapa, very few people ever venture to this beautiful, rugged area of steep rice terraces and Hmong minority villages.    

VMM ethnic minority - 2

 

You will then begin a long climb, much of it on single track trail, up to the summit of Cow Mountain (Nui Bo) at 2,300m.   

The views get better and better the higher you go. This is an alternative route onto the Cow Mountain peak, differing from that used for pre-2023 races.   

As you gain altitude, you will pass through a great variety of landscapes, including pine forests and grass fields.  

 

On a clear day at the top, you will have stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. For us, this is one of the most jaw dropping vistas of the course and indeed, all of Vietnam.  

The following descent is a sheer joy, especially in the dry. Much of it is runnable and the views are incredible. You’ll finish your downhill in Ta Phin village at CP4. From here, the character of the course changes again, with a riverside trail section, then some forest on your way to CP5.  

The trail from CP5 (31 Bridge) takes you through Sau Chua village on great quality, but very challenging trail with some seriously steep uphill. On a clear day, the views here will help take the edge off the challenge, we promise!  

From CP6 you will enjoy a net downhill to CP7. You’ll run through lots of small villages as well as some bamboo forest sections.  

After CP7 comes the infamous Mount Silverstone climb where, steep trail awaits. Your reward at the top is another great view and also the knowledge that you have now completed all your climbing for the day.   

From here it’s time for the final, runnable downhill and the race to the finish line and the famous welcome at Topas Ecolodge. Here you can relax and enjoy the feeling of triumph together with your fellow mountain runners.   

MANDATORY KIT 50KM

IMPORTANT: Please note:

  • 50k Disqualification (DSQ) will result from a lack of 

Means of carrying kit (e.g. race pack / belt); 1lt Water Carrying Capacity; Survival / Emergency / Space Blanket; Mobile Phone; Waterproof Jacket; Headlamp (after 6PM). 

  • 50k 30minute Time Penalty will result from a lack of: 

Any other mandatory kit item listed below. 

MANDATORY KIT

  1. Means of carrying all kit (e.g. race pack / belt) (Lack of this = DSQ)
  2. 1.0L liquid carrying capacity (Lack of this = DSQ)
  3. Strong headlamp if on course after 6PM (you will be checked) (Lack of this = DSQ)
  4. Waterproof jacket, with hood, sufficient to keep you dry in case of heavy rain, i.e. not a windproof-only jacket; not cheap, thin poncho (Lack of this = DSQ)
  5. Headwear (e.g. hat / cap / buff) (Lack of this = 30minute Penalty)
  6. Survival / Emergency / Space Blanket (Lack of this = DSQ)
  7. Whistle (Lack of this = 30minute Penalty)
  8. Mobile phone (with battery for the full event) (Lack of this = DSQ)

RECOMMENDED KIT

  1. Leggings
  2. Waterproof trousers 
  3. Gloves
  4. Sunblock
  5. Sunglasses
  6. GPS watch with GPX track loaded
  7. Poles (very helpful for almost all runners)
  8. Cash for buying food and drinks along the course
  9. Anti-chafing cream
  10. Tape / blister plasters
  11. Battery pack to charge phone if needed (IMPORTANT: a phone with remaining battery power is mandatory; no battery power in your phone = disqualification. If you doubt your phone can last until the end, bring a battery pack)
  12. Basic first aid kit (e.g. bandage, gauze, antiseptic…)

Finish Bag

Handing in your bag: at the START LINE

Please prepare your own bag. Bags must be sealed/closed.  

Do not include valuables – the organiser cannot be held responsible for any loss.  

BRING your luggage tag (given at the race pack collection), we will staple it for you. 

Picking up your bag after the race: at the FINISH

*If you DNF, then you can also pick up your finish bag in Sapa Park (next to Sapa Square) from 7:00-12:00 on Sunday, September 24. 

Note: no individual requests for bag transfers can be facilitated. ALL bags are moved together. 

VMM 50km is a 2-point qualifying race for ITRA, an ITRA National League race, and a 50K UTMB Index race.