Today thousands of Vietnamese runners raced with those from 51 nations on routes including 50k, 70k and 100k at the 10th anniversary of Vietnam Mountain Marathon.
For most ‘normal’ people the idea of running more than 5km is a challenge. Even for many seasoned runners, completing a road marathon of 42km is a lifetime achievement goal. However, at Vietnam Mountain Marathon, people run distances of 50km, 70km and even 100km over technical, mountainous terrain.
Vietnam Mountain Marathon began in 2013 as the first ultra race in the country. It offers runners the chance to run 10km, 21km, 50km, 70km or 100km in the mountains surrounding Sapa, in Lao Cai Province.
The Saturday distances all finished at the hilltop Topas Ecolodge, while on Sunday runners both start and finish in central Sapa town.
“This 10th anniversary year is not only special for us as organizer, but for mountain runners all over Vietnam. When we began this race in 2013 it was the first of its kind in Vietnam. At the first edition, we had only one Vietnamese ultra distance finisher. This year, thousands of Vietnamese were joined by runners from 51 nations. Therefore, this year, we are celebrating not only the race’s history, but the birth and growth of ultra racing here in Vietnam,” shared VMM’s Race Director, David Lloyd.
The 100km distance started Friday at 9pm in Sapa town on Friday. Runners will then race into the night, first over Ham Rong mountain. The course then takes them deep into the hills, passing Su Pan, Lao Chai and Cat Cat, before they summit the highest point in the race, Cow Mountain, at almost 2,300m. From here, they still face a series of very hard climbs and descents all the way to the finish line at Topas Ecolodge.
In the men’s 100km ultra marathon, the first place winner is Nguyen Tien Hung (Hung Hai) from Vietnam, who completed the race in an impressive time of 12:54:04. The second place goes to Sange Sherpa from Nepal, who finished with a time of 13:04:31. The third place is awarded to Nguyen Si Hieu from Vietnam, who completed the race in 14:29:46.
In the women’s category, the winner was Man Yee Cheung from Hong Kong with 16:48:26. She was followed by Le Thi Hang from Vietnam with the total time of 17:09:35, running with her Ysandal, and Luong Thi Loi with the total time of 18:04:08.
In the men’s category, the winner is Arnie Macaneras from Philippines with 08:40:48. The second place is Michal Lesniak from Poland with the total time of 10:11:48, just 13 minutes before the third winner – Nguyen Duc Tuan Anh from Vietnam.
In the women’s category, the first place winner is Akane Nemoto from Japan with 13:17:42 to reach the finish line. The second place is Le Xuan Suong from Vietnam with the total time of 13:28:15
The men’s champion of the 50km is John Ray Onifa from Philippines with the total time of 05:06:27.
The second place is Krisian Joergensen from Denmark with the total time of 05:09:38, followed by Godwin Mirar from Philippines with 05:17:38.
Top 3 female 50km runners are Vanja Cnops from Belgium with 6:41:14, Tran Ho Nguyen Thao from Vietnam with 8:57:43, and Giang Thi Linh with 9:00:21.
The male winner of the 21km was Fiin Lydon from England with a total time of 2:13:22, followed by Vinson Ramos from Philippines with 2:21:06 and Filip Janczak from Poland with the total time of 2:27:06.
The first place in women’s category was Fiin Lydon’s girlfriend – Ellen Crombie from England. It took her only 2:31:47 to reach the Finish gate.
The second place is Concetta Arcella from Australia with the total time of 2:47:12. And the third place went to Nguyen Thi Tra Giang from Vietnam with 2:59:17.
The 10km route just starts 7am this morning, at Sapa Town with nearly 900 runners.
The first place winner of VMM 10km male goes to John Ray Onifa, from Philippines with just 58:27. He is also the winner of VMM 50km male the previous day. The second place is Sung Lung, from Vietnam with 58:34.
And the third place is a familiar face with VMM – Nguyen Xuan Tu, Vietnam with 1:04:53.
In female category, the champion is Tran Thi Duyen, from Vietnam with just 1:09:48. The second place is Bui Thi Binh, Vietnam with 1:12:25, closely followed by Fushia Emily Clayton from the United Kingdom with 1:20:28.
The commitment of organiser, Topas Travel, to charitable work continues at VMM 2023, with the total now raised through the Topas Vietnam Trail Series reaching over VND10billion (USD420,000).
Alongside local projects along the race route, charities that benefit from the race include Operation Smile, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, and Newborns Vietnam. All these charities will also teams of runners racing the event to raise further funds and awareness.
Following the recent devastating floods in Lao Cai provine, the organiser will commit money to the flood relief fund.
This weekend, we also join with Sapa in celebrating their 120th anniversary of Sapa tourism. Runners will see celebrations throughout the weekend in the square next to the VMM race village.