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Trail Runner Road Marathons - How Fast Are They?

We took a look at the road marathon personal bests of some of our past and future Vietnam Trail Series runners. We found some seriously fast times… 

Road Marathon PBs_Female

For the women, the first time on this list is for a future VMM runner, Eszter Csillag who has a road marathon PB of 2:45:06 (2023 NN Marathon Rotterdam). 

Eszter has many trail wins to her name. She also took 4th place at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships and 5th at UTMB Mont-Blanc 2022. Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2023 will be her first time running in Vietnam – watch this space to see what distance she will choose.  

The next name on our list is Pham Thi Hong Le, a pro road runner in Vietnam. Her PB of 2:48:21 comes from Vietnam National Games 2018. Her best result in a Vietnam Trail Series race was her 21k victory at VTM 2020 in a time of 2:28:03.

Next up is Ha Hau, who needs no introduction to trail runners in Vietnam. She has a marathon PB of 2:56:50 set in VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight 2023. However, her earlier road pedigree is less well known. From 2006 – 2008 she won the Lao Cai marathon and she already had other very good short distance road times. In 2020 Hau did her first trail race – VMM 21k. She won that, beating the first man by 26 minutes. When she came to VTM 2021 70k, our Race Director predicted she would beat all the men, despite her having no ultra experience. She was first woman and she was also in contention for the overall win for much of the race. However, it didn’t take long for her to win her first ultra overall – in 2022 she won VMM 100k outright, beating all the men. Hau also has a 17minute 5k time. Read our Q and A with Hau here. 

Kellie Emmerson of Australia is a Hoka/T8 athlete and will make her Vietnam debut at Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2023. She has a road PB of 2:58:36 (Wangaratta Marathon 2019) and has achieved a Top 10 at UTMB Mont-Blanc. She’s opted for the 70k at VJM 2023.  

Nguyen Thi Duong has many podiums and wins at both road and trail races to her name. Her marathon PB is 3:17:51 – a result she achieved at Salonpas HCMC Marathon 2023.

Road Marathon PBs_Male

On the men’s side, Jisub Kim of South Korea is heading back to VMM 2023 following his blistering performance at VMM 2017 when he won the 42k smashing the course record in the process. His marathon PB is 2:26:32 which he ran in Seoul this year, so we expect him to come into VMM with some serious speed in his legs. Read our previous interview with Jisub Kim here. 

Around 1 minute slower is Pham Tien San of Vietnam. San’s PB was achieved at 2:27:30 at VPBank Hanoi Marathon 2020. His best result at VTS races is 1st place at VTM 2020 21k. 

Darren Southcott of the UK ran VJM 42k in 2022 setting a blistering fast time and breaking the record. He was new to trails at the time and he was also new to running marathons when he clocked his PB at his first FM race, running 2:27:45 (Melbourne Marathon 2022). 

Canada’s Jeff Campbell is a man who has a very methodical approach to preparation and set his mind on achieving a marathon PB through systematic training sessions. You can read more about that here in our recent interview with him. Like Darren, he ran VJM 2022, and also like Darren, he smashed the course record. Jeff’s marathon PB is 2:29:12 which he ran in Berlin 2019. 

Finally, we have Quang Tran, who, like his compatriot Hau, needs no introduction within Vietnam. Quang began running in 2015 and made his debut at Vietnam Mountain Marathon 42k placing 13th. In 2016 he placed 4th at VMM 100k. But then the podiums began – he has now won VMM 100k, VMM 100 miles, Vietnam Trail Marathon and Vietnam Jungle Marathon. His marathon PB is 2:42:23 (Salonpas HCMC Marathon 2022).