Vietnam Mountain Marathon to kick off at weekend

More than 2,200 runners will race up to 100km in Vietnam’s highest mountains at the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM) 2020 in Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai this weekend.

Vietnam’s top homegrown talents will face off with strong French expat competitors, while celebrity runners include singer Duc Tuan, writer Trang Ha and traveller Tran Dang Dang Khoa, who travelled across 62 countries and six continents on his motorbike.

Usually held in September, the race will be held for the first time in autumnal weather following a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also the first time the race will not welcome any athletes from overseas, but the wealth of talent now based in Vietnam means the race still promises high-quality competition.

The nation’s top ultra runners including Quang Tran, Nguyen Tien Hung and Nguyen Thi Duong will compete against French expat talent including Romain Berion and Nathalie Cochet.

In the men’s 100km distance race, two-time VMM 100km champion, Hung will go head to head with 2017 VMM 100km champion Quang Tran for the first time ever at the VMM.

While Quang has multiple trail wins including the 2017 VMM 100km, his compatriot Hung has won the VMM 100km for the last two years and has been training in Sa Pa for weeks pre-race. Both are very focused on winning, so this battle promises to be hard-fought, but they must also compete with two strong contenders from France, namely Romain Berion and Gaetan Morizur.

Just a month ago Berion took one hour off Quang’s personal best at the Vietnam Jungle Marathon (VJM), so this weekend might produce the first non-Vietnamese 100km winner since 2016.

In the women’s ultra field, one of Vietnam’s top ultra female runners, Duong who is the current Asia Trail Master series leader, will compete with the VMM 100km champion, France’s Nathalie Cochet.

The Vietnam Trail Series champions will be crowned in Sa Pa following the VMM.

Vietnam Trail Series is comprised of three races, the Vietnam Trail Marathon (VTM), Vietnam Jungle Marathon (VJM) and Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM).

On the current ultra leaderboard, Trung Nguyen (a Singapore-based Vietnamese) and Duong of Vietnam are now in the lead, while Quang Tran of Vietnam and Axelle de Feraudylead of France lead the marathon ranking list.

Source: Vietnam News Agency