Vietnam Ultra Running

53km getting started run

53km getting started run

We finished the 53km run on Saturday 23 May. This was the second run for the preparation of the 125KM run.  It was a hot and long day. It was not about completing fast but completing healthy and to get used to the heat.

At at 11AM the temperature was already 33 degrees, there were no clouds and 95% of the run was in full sun, without any shadow.

During the run we had great support from Christian König, Andy Wong, Thiên Thanh, Thang Pham, Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, Lien Thuy Pham Thi,Phạm Hiệp Sĩ, Trần Chương , …… Those guys and girls are just awesome! The support during the run (and after the run) was really appreciated and needed.

Originally 18 “runners” indicated that the would join. We expected however that less than 10 runners would show up. Last minute a few runners cancelled and finally we started the run with 7 people; 5 of them starting in District 1 and 2 runners in other locations:

1. Đỗ Ngân Sơn
2. Nhung Chu
3. Triết Minh Dương
4. Marcel Lennartz
5. Méo Meo
6. Thang Pham (started in District 7)
7. Noel Tolentino (started in District 2)

Triet never had run a long distance before so it was amazing that he joined on a hot day like this. We didn’t see Meo for a long time and it was a surprise to have him join as well. Noel started from a different location (District 2) and Thang is scared of the sun so started really early in the morning in District 7. During the run we went twice over the Phu My Bridge and twice of the Thu Thiem bridge.

Pain is temporary, quitting is forever. Never quit! If you think about quitting, just remind yourself why you started!

The longer we run, the hotter it got. Whenever possible we refilled our water bottles. There wasn’t much traffic which was good. This was not a run for setting the best time but a run to conquer the distance and the heat and the voice in our heads which kept saying: it is hot… can quit

Christian walked all the way up to the Phu My Bridge with a bag full of water and bananas to help the runners. This was also the moment that it started to become a lot warmer. We had a long break after the first 26.5km. Noel had to get back to work (he informed us in advance) and Triet decided it was enough and that was probably a good and healthy choice.

Triet did an amazing job. He never really run more than 1 hour and this time he run 26.5km. Meo stopped after approx. 30+ km and Son after 44km. On the way back, Thanh, Tuan, Thang and Andy provided the much needed cold drinks.

Nhung has a never quitting attitude so we both finished at Saigon zoo where, to our big surprise, a lot of people were waiting for us. This was so cool, especially as it was a total surprise.

Lessons learned today

  • Never quit!
  • Make sure that you always have water with you
  • If you can find a bit of shadow, use it as it immediately makes a big difference
  • Don’t think about how much you still have to run (unless you are nearly finished). Think in small steps. When you have run the first 3km don’t think…..pffff 50 more to go. Instead think: The next bridge is just 10 minutes away.
  • Bringing your core temperature down makes a big difference; if you can poor water over your head, do it.
  • Keep smiling! Appreciate that you are able to run whereas some not so fortunate people cant run at all

Next Challenge?
The next challenge was going to be a 66km. Several runners indicated that 70km sounds so much “cooler” and it is “only” 4km more. The next challenge will therefore become 70km. That one will start very early in the morning to reduce the heat exposure. We aim to make the route in such manner that there is a lot more shadow and that it is possible to do 35km and 70km (and maybe other distances). Maybe we can add a relay as well.