|Some 3,000 runners participated in the Halong Heritage Marathon 2019|
For five consecutive years, Quang Ninh provincial Department of Culture and Sports, in collaboration with Ha Long People’s Committee and DHA Vietnam, have successfully organised the Halong Heritage Marathon, with the number of participants skyrocketing over the years.
The race aims to create a healthy and positive environment where running enthusiasts can challenge themselves, meet, and share experiences with each other. The special design of the racetrack offers unique running course across Bai Chay Bridge, the longest single-span bridge in Southeast Asia. This course's design also provides a spectacular view from above to the magnificent landscape of Halong Bay. The route continues through picturesque spots of mountains and coastal lines along the bay and beautiful fishing villages, with the start and finish line at Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Centre – an honoured architectural work.
With diverse categories – a 42.195-km marathon, a 21.1-km half-marathon, a 10-km run, and a 5-km fun run – the race was open for anyone to join and experience its unique route and compete against elite runners in the most ideal weather, attracting twice the number of participants than in 2018.
"Team FBS comes from ‘fat boys slim’, we were all overweight and very unfit. Individually, we have lost 15-20 kilogrammes since we began running six years ago. We meet up 1-2 times a year in a different country to run and Halong Bay Heritage Marathon is our stop this year," team FBS, with three friends Paul, Kenny, and Hernan from Ireland and Spain, shared with Timeout after finishing their 21-km half marathon.
"It is an excellent race, Halong Bay is very famous in the world and the landscape along our running route is fantastic, and the event is very well-organised overall. We only have one complaint – there's no beer for us to celebrate our race," Paul hilariously added.
|Team FBS with three members currently living in Fountainstown, Berlin, and Shanghai|
Halong Bay Heritage Marathon 2019 honoured the names of national athlete Ha Van Nhat and Leo Thi Tinh, who crossed the finish line at 2:37:23 – breaking his own record – and 3:14:58, respectively, as the first-place winners in the 42-km category for males and females. Runner Le Van Tuan won the second place and Korean runner Choi Jinsoo triumphed the third place for males. In the female category, Le Thi Lan and Doan Thu Hang received the second and third prizes.
|Ha Van Nhat, Le Van Tuan, and Choi Jinsoo respectively won the first, second, and third prizes of the 42-km male marathon category|
|In the 42-km female marathon, Leo Thi Tinh, Le Thi Lan, and Doan Thu Hang were the three fastest finishers|
Nguyen Tri, general director of DHA Vietnam and the organisers' representative, said, "Halong Bay Heritage Marathon has recorded a clear and stable growth over each season, especially in the participation of international athletes. The efforts of the organisers in preparation, organisation, and domestic and international promotional activities have helped HBHM to earn a spot on the international marathon map, and become a desirable destination for runners all over the world."
At the Berlin Marathon in October 2019, the International Marathon Association (AIMS) officially introduced the Halong Bay International Heritage Marathon and VPBank Hanoi Marathon to nearly 50,000 international athletes and visitors participating.
As a run on the flat road, HBHM is designed to help participating runners explore Halong Bay through every step, from the enchanting fishing villages along the bay to the poetic scenery of the coastal city.
Halong Bay Heritage Marathon, held annually on the last Sunday of November on the UNESCO-recognised World Natural Heritage Site, is one of the biggest, best-organised professional and international marathons in Vietnam. With the route running alongside stunning coastline of Halong Bay, Halong Bay Heritage Marathon and the VPBank Hanoi Marathon have been accredited by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) as an IAAF-standardised course, becoming an international running race which not only ensures professionalism but promotes the symbolic beauty of the host country.
By Thanh Mai
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