Preview: Vietnam Mountain Marathon comes of age!
The Vietnam Mountain Marathon is up next this weekend in the Asia Trail Master series, and many people are looking forward to that. Not only because it is the only major trail run in the country, but also because it is witnessing a boom in registrations from all over the region. Saturday's race "on trails beaten by buffaloes" is the third edition of the event organised by Topas Travel in Sapa, in the northwest of Vietnam.
The event offers 4 different race distances, of which the 70km and 42km are points-scorers for the Asia Trail Master ranking. Finishers on the longest 70km also get 1 point for the Grandmaster Quest. This is a mountainous race with 3000m of elevation gain on the long distance, and together with the altitude and potential high temperatures the race can be very tough.
Among the many hundreds of runners will also be Thai star Sanya Khanchai, who will be one of the men to beat on the 70km. There will be many Thai runners in Sapa this weekend, along with a large contingent from Malaysia and Singapore, but also many local Vietnamese runners will take the start, in what is clearly a boost for the trail running sport in the country. Let's see if one of the local runners can cause an upset this weekend!
Topas Travel, an adventure travel agency based in Sapa, organises the event together with the Danish embassy and regards it mainly as a social event through the rice fields and breath-taking valleys, cross bamboo bridges, bypass water buffalos, mountain pigs and cheering local children. VMM is the result of a lifelong love of running and a fascination with Vietnam, and participants will run on paths in the Hoang Lien National Park that are traditionally not-used by trekkers.