Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vietnam Mountain Marathon

Vietnam Mountains Marathon ("VMM") at Sapa on 20 Sept 2014 ... I am glad to complete the full marathon category of 42km in 9 hours 46 minutes running through slippery and muddy trails amid scenic landscape of the rural areas in Vietnam.

Do CLICK HERE to view 177 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

  At the starting point – Mark by an AWAS tape on the road (out of nowhere). According to the Race Director, Asger Køppen, no tourist will come to this part of the rural area in Vietnam, only the brave and the crazy trail runners!

After running in this Vietnam Mountains Marathon, I would strongly recommend all trail runners to try in this event. 

The landscape along the trail route is scenic with the view of the country where runners traversing the mountains; passing by many tribes, villages, and padi fields. And of course, while enjoying the fantastic view, one must be careful not to step on the huge dung on the ground. There were many free roaming pigs along the trail constantly waving their tails that looked like welcoming the runners.  

 Posing with Race Director, Asger Køppen (2nd from right)

The journey to Topas Ecolodge – the finishing point – to attend the pre-race briefing and collection of bibs and T-shirt is a pleasant and memorable one involving a 10-hour night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai; bus transfer from Lao Cai to Sapa town where most participants stayed in the various hotels; and finally another round of bus transfer from Sapa to Topas Ecolodge. The night train offers comfortable bed in an air-conditioned cabin for a good night sleep.

 Rashel from Philippine 

The organization capability involving administrative and technical tasks by the organizer was superb with seamless integration of the various activities. All officials and crew members know their duty well in meeting the runners’ need. As for the Race Director, Asger Køppen, we like his humble and humorous way of conducting the various activities. A participant need not have to worry about food, transport and accommodations at all – all these were well taken care of. A participant’s only concern is to run and complete the race in the category that suit one’s choice – 21km, 42km or 70km.

 Traverse up the mountain overlooking the valley below … Tan Hong Lan, ChongYF, Yuen Yit, KC Leong

 Beautiful scenery

 Good harvest

 Tan Hong Lan posing with the local children

 Taking a breather and having my lunch – two pieces of bread

At Checkpoint #4 – each checkpoint is also a water station that also provide banana. For this checkpoint, it is located next to a village. Hence, the enterprising locals are also selling canned drinks.

 Many free roaming pigs along the trail. They are cute but timid, busy spending their time looking for food in the mud.

While enjoying the fantastic view, one must be careful not to step on the huge dung on the ground  :-)

 Crossing one of the many streams

 Passing by a scenic local village with a breathtaking view of the mountains

 Yeah, one more mountain to climb before reaching the finishing line.

 Yeah, I finally arrive at the finishing point clocking a timing of 9 hours 46 minutes for a full marathon distance of 42km.

Topas Ecolodge – nestled in a scenic landscape overlooking the valley, it is the finishing point of Vietnam Mountains Marathon (for all categories of 21km, 42km, and 70km).

Do click here to view photos of pre-VMM (city tour and collection of bibs)

Do click here to view photos of post-VMM (attending closing ceremony, visiting Halong Bay)

Posted by KC Leong

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