Making news

Records broken at Vietnam Jungle Marathon

Records tumbled at the Vietnam Jungle Marathon (VJM) over the weekend as all distances from 10km to 70km saw new course records broken by Vietnam-based runners thanks to the event being held during cooler weather in October.

The winner of the men’s 70km event was Romain Berion of France who finished in a total time of 7:34.32, seeing a new VJM 70km record.

“The weather was cooler and the landscape was amazing. Thank you the organiser for this amazing race. I will be back for Vietnam Mountain Marathon in November,” said Berion, who is a new face in the local trail running community.

The female ultra-marathon also saw a new face as Nguyen Thuy Dung of Vietnam won with a time of 9:36.41.

“I am very happy to win for the first time in a trail race. We were all very lucky today because the weather was so beautiful,” said Dung.

Nguyen Thi Duong and Hien Tran of the Czech Republic were the runners-up with times of 10:16.24 and 10:44.29, respectively.

Also in women’s ultra field, Nathalie Cochet of France came first in 55km with a time of 8:12.48. Cochet’s compatriot Constance Louasse and Le Tham Thuy Hang finished second and third.

In the men’s 55km, Singapore-based Vietnamese runner Trung Nguyen took first place. His time was 6:43.56, breaking the course record.

“The race is always very special to me. The VJM was my very first trail race which has built my love for trail running. I am very happy that I did break the record this year. It is thanks to the second place Paul Rioux who ran together and pushed me to the finish line,” Trung said.

The second and third places of this category belonged to Paul Rioux from France and Vu Tien Viet Dung of Vietnam.

In the men’s 42km, Quang Tran beat elite runner Pham Tien San to be the winner after clocking a time of 3:37:56. Quang also broke the course record of VJM.

“In the first 25km, I had to try all my best to chase Sản. He ran uphill very fast, leaving me behind. After that, I got the advantages at some very technical trails to overcome San. He just ran trails but will definitely be the one to watch," said Quang.

“The race has provided a welcome tourism boost to an area that has seen tourism numbers fall dramatically this year. Some of the homestay owners we have spoken to have had almost no guests for months, so bringing people back to  Pu Luong Nature Reserve in the central province of Thanh Hoa and helping to re-invigorate the tourism economy was an important aspect of the event,” said David Lloyd, founder of VJM and director of sport at Topas Travel.

“Furthermore, we added 13,815 USD to the total we have raised for charity which now stands at close to 300,000 USD. In the past three years, the race has funded life-changing surgery for children through Operation Smile and drowning prevention programmes through Hue Help. This year the funds will be focused on education projects in the local area,” Lloyd added.

The race is organised by Topas Travel, part of the Topas Explorer Group, owner of the Vietnam Trail Series which also includes Vietnam Mountain Marathon and Vietnam Trail Marathon.

The next race, Vietnam Mountain Marathon, will take place on the November 20. Registration for the event is still open and runners can choose distances from 10km up to 100km./