The Vietnam Ultra Marathon (VUM) – The Trails of Mai Chau, jointly held by the People’s Committee of Mai Chau district and Phu Thinh Co.,Ltd (Topas Travel), has left good impressions on the athletes and many domestic and international visitors.

Kids eager with their five-kilometre race.

Mai Chau – a hospitable land

Director of Vietnam Ultra Marathon David Lloyd said Hoa Binh was among ten provinces and cities he came to conduct a survey for the marathon, and Mai Chau was a perfect destination for the race. 

Mai Chau attracted him with the untouched beauty and unique traditional culture of Hang Kia commune, and stunning landscapes and trails near Lac village, he said, adding leaders of Hoa Binh city and Mai Chau district supported and created favourable conditions for the organisation of the tournament.

Over 2,200 runners from 38 countries and territories joined the event, which was organised for the first time on March 23 in Mai Chau district. They took part in the running at five distances, from 5km, to 10km, 25km, 50km and 70km ultramarathon with a total increase in altitude of up to 3,300 metres.

Running through renowned tourist destinations of Mai Chau, from Lac village with tranquil beauty to fairy tale-like Thung Mai commune or Hang Kia – a great place for cloud hunting, athletes had their own experience and got indelible impression on the nature’s majesty and friendly locals. 

Lucie Gourdon from France said this was the first time that he engaged in the race, and felt proud as he completed the 10-kilometre distance. "I had wonderful experience in this tournament, with gorgeous landscape, friendly locals and professional organisers. I will try other marathons in Vietnam in the coming time”.

Beyond an international sport event, the VUM was a good opportunity for Mai Chau district and Hoa Binh province as a whole to introduce local images to both domestic and foreign visitors, helping promote the development of the local tourism sites. 

Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee Hoang Duc Minh expressed his hope that throughout the event, local tourism potential and strength will be nudged closer to visitors from far and wide.

Vietnamese runners shining

The VUM 2024 drew the participation of many renowned runners across the globe. Particularly, the stunning 70-kilometre ultra-route was a tough competition with many excellent runners such as Victor Guerdin from France who won the 100-kilometre Caldeia Trail in 2023, and John Ray Onifa from the Philippines claimed the championship titles at the TransLantau50 by UTMB 2023 and The North Face 100 Hong Kong 2023, and Nguyen Si Hieu from Vietnam who was crowned the champion of the MANTRA116 in 2022.

John Ray Onifa became the winner of the race, Hieu came second and Victor Guerdin third. Runners from Australia and the UK secured the first and second places in the women’s 70-kilometres run while Le Thi Hang finished third. 

Other Vietnamese runners who shone bright at the event were Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, winner of the women’s 25-kilometre event, and Bui Thi Lan and Nguyen Ngoc Anh, winners of the women’s and men’s 5-kilometre category. 

Regarding the 10-kilometre run, Can Thi My Phuong was the runner-up at the women’s category while Nong Van Chuyen claimed the championship at the men’s event. Notably, runners Dinh Thi Thu Hien and Nguyen Viet Cuong from Hoa Binh province won the third prizes at the women’s and men’s 10-kilometre run.

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