VMM - Impressive Evelyn Lek scores 2nd ATM win
The 6th edition of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon took place in generally fine conditions with almost 3000 runners spread out over the various race distances. The women’s 100k attracted a lot of attention as it had a class field of regional top runners, several of whom are also in contention for the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship. And one of them just added her name to the list of contenders for the title: Evelyn Lek. After winning her debut on the ultra trail distance at Magnificent Merapoh Trail in Malaysia last month, the Singaporean now also claimed top honours in Vietnam Mountain Marathon. Intermediate race updates did not have her leading, yet Lek arrived solo back at the Topas Ecolodge in 17:57. In the end she had a comfortable gap over second-placed former winner Nathalie Cochet. The French runner had been leading earlier on, but finished in 18:40. In third place was Vietnamese Australian Hoa Banh, and another half hour back was Marieke Dekkers. Philippines’ Aggy Sabanal had an off-day and retired from the race at km 64 feeling unwell.
The men’s race was quite tight with 3 runners finishing within 30 minutes. Local star Hung Nguyen Tien had taken the bull by the horns from the beginning, but had to stay focused as in-form Hisashi Kitamura was never far behind. Kitamura runs a lot of races, this was his sixth ATM points race of the season and his third 100K in six weeks. Yet, the Kuala Lumpur-based Japanese shows no sign of fatigue as 2nd in VMM is his best result of the year. In fact, by eliminating his 19th place in 9 Dragons Ultra - his worst this season - Kitamura jumps ahead of his compatriot Tomohiro Mizukoshi in the ATM standings. France’s David Fontaine grabbed third place on the podium in Sapa last weekend.
The 70 km race was won by Vietnam’s Si Hieu Nguyen and by Hong Kong’s Ngon Sin Fang in the women’s.