While up at the Topas Riverside Lodge after lockdown ended, a plan was made for a new, intimate running race for around 150 people this summer.
Like all lovers of the great outdoors, our Hanoi-based team was very ready to get out into the hills and join up with our Sapa team members once lockdown had lifted. Last week’s team trip up to Topas Riverside Lodge was therefore extremely welcome.
Photo: Rice paddies around 8k from Topas Riverside Lodge
On arrival, while most of the team went on a shorter wander around the Red Dao ethnic minority village of Nam Cang, David Lloyd (Director of Sport) and Tran Duc Kien (Project Manager) went further afield.
Originally, our plan was not to create a race, but a route that our running guests could enjoy when staying at the Riverside Lodge. However, that afternoon was filled with magic light and incredible landscapes …. and inspiration flowed.
Photo: Kien enjoys some of the local trail
“Later, we sat on the lodge terrace with a cold beer,” explains David. “I was looking at the swing bridge in front of us (see pic) as the team swam in the river below. The bridge looked like the perfect, Topas style finish line. The landscapes we had just passed through were some of the best in Vietnam – truly remote valleys with grand mountains all around.”
Photo: Not all finish lines are made equal – this is our swing bridge finish at Topas Riverside Lodge
Photo: David, Kien and Christian (Topas Riverside Lodge Manager) enjoy some terrace time
“I was thinking – just add runners, music, food, some beers and we could have another special event in the hills,” David adds.
The idea for this new, intimate race was thus born. By the next morning the real planning was underway, pulling together the local knowledge of the Topas team combined with those we have worked with in the area since the 90s.
Photo: Some of the team get to work pooling knowledge and considering other local route options
More inspection followed with a trip into a valley which requires pictures to do the talking……
Photos: Is this Vietnam’s most beautiful river valley?
Photo: Hai further up the river valley – rains the night before made the scene even more beautiful
More trail inspection is currently underway and will continue for the next couple of weeks, then we will open registration for our smallest ever event.
The When, Where, What and How
When Provisional date Aug 1
Where Nam Cang Village and around. Race HQ is Topas Riverside Lodge, in Lao Cai Province. Approx 4.5 hours from Hanoi.
What Race lengths are to be confirmed, but likely around 25km and maybe something shorter for newbies.
How Easy – all entries will include transport from Hanoi, accommodation, all food in the village, and the race itself. This will be a special weekend experience race for 150 only.
Register your interest for an email on the day we launch registration by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t worry… we won’t include this river crossing