On 19 Jan 2019 almost 1,900 runners from 39 nations, including Miss Vietnam 1994 Thu Thuy, Triple7Quest Chau Smith, musician Huy Tuan and Vietnam ‘s top ultra runners raced distances up to 70km in the first edition of Vietnam Trail Marathon in Moc Chau.
70km ultra runners at the first ever Vietnam Trail Marathon began in darkness at 4am in Moc Chau. They raced with headlamps on, then ran through blossom orchards at sunrise. The route took them along stunning trails, past remote villages and finished at the Doi che Trai Tim.
Vietnam Trail Marathon is the third race in the Vietnam Trail Series by Topas, organisers of Vietnam Mountain Marathon, one of the biggest ultra-running events in Asia.
“After months of planning and preparation it was fantastic to see runners from all over the world enjoying the spectacular beauty of Moc Chau”, said David Lloyd, race founder and director.
Ultra distance winners
The winner of the male 70km was Tran Duy Quang from Vietnam who finished in a total time of 7:59:44.
He beat Nguyen Minh Tuan, his compatriot from Da Nang into second place. To take the win Quang had to run through darkness starting at 4am in the cool weather of Moc Chau in Jan.
At the finish line Quang said: “I am very glad to run the VTM course in beautiful Moc Chau today. The weather is very cool and awesome to run. I ran for Newborns Vietnam which provides and trains doctors to increase the lives of Vietnamese infants. I am happy and proud to contribute to this meaningful organization”.
The female ultra marathon saw Jo Meek from UK take first place in a total time of 9:37:20. In second was Louison Viard from France while Nguyen Thi Duong from Vietnam got the third place.
Vietnamese runners who made it onto the podium were:
- Trần Duy Quang – First 70k Male Winner
- Nguyễn Minh Tuấn – Second 70k Male
- Nguyễn Thị Đường – Third 70k Female
- Trịnh Nam Hải – Third 42k Male Winner
- Nông Văn Chuyền – First 21k Male
- Nguyễn Xuân Tứ – Second 21km Male
Oldest runner – 72 year old makes completes more than 70 marathons
One of the standout runners of the day was Chau Smith, who at 72 was the oldest female competitor. Back in 2017 Chau Smith ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 consecutive days for her 70th birthday. Born in Vietnam and now living in San Francisco, including VIetnam Trail Marathon Chau has now run more than 70 marathons.
“This was my first marathon in Vietnam. I have never seriously considered running in the south, where I used to live, because of the heat. But I met some runners in DaLat last year where I was vacationing and they got me excited about running in other parts of Vietnam. So when I saw the VTM advertised, I jumped at a chance to be a part of a well-organized run in such a beautiful area of my homeland,” she said.
Full results can be found online at
Like other races by Topas, all $20 from every long distance (21km-70km) registration goes direct to charity. At the first edition of Vietnam Trail Marathon, VND 551,546,500 has been raised to support local projects around Moc Chau, Newborns Vietnam which works to increase life chances for newborns babies, and Operation Smile which performs facial surgery on those with deformities.
Date: 19 Jan 2019
Location: Moc Chau District, Son La
Race director: David Lloyd
Vietnamese/International 78% – 22%
Female – Male: 55% – 45%
Distances: 70km, 42km, 21km, 10km