Four reasons to participate in VnExpress Marathon Hue

By Nguyen Nghia   March 15, 2024 | 01:50 am PT
Marathon runners in Hue are treated with picturesque routes that are ideal for achieving personal bests, and abundant dining and entertainment options after the run.

The VnExpress Marathon Hue stands out as the most beloved race in the VM series, having attracted tens of thousands of runners and their families to this historic capital over the past four years. This year, the event is expected to host over 8,000 participants. Hue also expects a notable rise in the number of tourists and runners' family members during this period, as April marks the beginning of the summer tourism season.

Huynh The Nhi posing with the bib for the 21-kilometer distance of VnExpress Hue 2022. Photo by VM

Huynh The Nhi poses with her bib for the 21-kilometer distance of VnExpress Hue 2022. Photo by VM

Beautiful running routes

Hue, with its lush greenery provided by over 65,000 trees, offers runners picturesque and shaded paths that leave a lasting impression. Many athletes who conquered the VnExpress Marathon Hue have found themselves drawn back to this enchanting city every April. Hoang Huu Loc, a runner from Hanoi, has participated in VM Hue for three consecutive seasons, citing the city's captivating beauty and conducive racing conditions.

"The routes in Hue are beautiful, flat, with few bends and slopes. The cool weather in April makes it my go-to destination annually," said Loc. The runner considers Hue his second hometown. "Running under the rows of ancient trees, casting shadows on Le Duan and Dinh Tien Hoang streets, and enjoying the breeze from the poetic Perfume River is an unforgettable feeling. It inspires me to push myself and break my own records," he added.

Runners participating in the VnExpress Marathon Hue 2023 running on Truong Tien Bridge. Photo by VM

Runners in the VnExpress Marathon Hue 2023 on Truong Tien Bridge. Photo by VM

Le Thi Lan Anh, from the northern province of Quang Ninh, has increased her distance to a 42 km challenge this April. She likens the marathon route to a guided tour, immersing runners in the splendor of Hue's iconic landmarks. Reflecting on her journey, she said: "Having conquered distances of 5, 10, and 21 km in previous seasons, I resolved to embrace the ultimate challenge of the 42 km at VM Hue this year, eager to immerse myself in the allure of this route."

Abundance of entertainment options

The tourism season in Hue spans from November to April of the following year, with the most alluring period being the year's first months, characterized by the refreshing weather. For runners arriving in Hue to participate in the VnExpress Marathon on April 21 this year, they will have complimentary access to explore the historical treasures of the Nguyen Dynasty, including the Imperial City, An Dinh Palace, the tombs of King Khai Dinh, King Tu Duc, and King Minh Mang.

A visitor taking photos at the Imperial City of Hue.

A visitor taking photos at the Imperial City of Hue. Photo by VnExpress

Beyond the imperial sites, Hue boasts an array of attractions sure to captivate visitors. Hue High School For The Gifted, Truong Tien Bridge, Thuy Xuan Incense Village, Vong Canh Hill, and Tam Giang Lagoon are among the popular destinations sought out by tourists.

During the summer months, Hue's landscape is transformed by vibrant hues, with marigolds casting a golden glow and crape-myrtle flowers and parasol tree flowers painting the scenery in purple. April is also the time for the Summer Festival "The Citadel Shines Bright", with the VnExpress Marathon serving as one of its inaugural events. This kicks off a series of festivities aimed at celebrating and preserving the region's cultural heritage.

For marathon participants, the event offers more than just a race; it's an opportunity to immerse oneself in the dynamic sports ambiance while discovering the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality of the ancient capital.

The Tomb of King Khai Dinh, Photo by Ngo Tran Hai An.

The Tomb of King Khai Dinh in Hue. Photo by Ngo Tran Hai An

In addition to the culturally significant landmarks, runners can experience the lively atmosphere and explore the Western Quarter along Pham Ngu Lao, Chu Van An, and Vo Thi Sau Streets. These are familiar addresses for young people and foreign tourists, similar to Ta Hien in Hanoi and Bui Vien in Ho Chi Minh City.

Delectable cuisine

For runners looking to combine their passion for running with culinary exploration, Hue offers a delectable array of dishes. For breakfast, there are banh canh (Vietnamese thick noodle soup) or bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup). At lunchtime, they can choose from a variety of dishes such as com hen (rice with baby clams), com nieu (rice cooked in a clay pot), bun mam (rice vermicelli with fermented fish broth), or bun thit nuong (grilled pork noodle soup). For snacks, runners have numerous options, including banh beo (water fern cakes), banh loc (tapioca dumplings), banh nam (flat steamed rice dumplings), banh xeo (crispy pancakes), and banh ram it (fried sticky rice dumplings). And to satisfy their sweet tooth, they can indulge in Hue's famous che (sweet soup).

Bun bo Hue, a staple dish of the ancient capital.

Bun bo Hue, a staple dish of the ancient capital. Photo by VnExpress

To experience the true essence of Hue cuisine, tourists can venture to street food stalls, tucked-away corners, alleys, and lanes. The names of these eateries often start with "Mu", "Me", "O", which means "auntie" in Hue. Dong Ba Market also stands out as a hub of gastronomic delights, offering a variety of delicious dishes under one roof.

Renowned for its diversity and elegance, Hue cuisine reflects a philosophy that places emphasis not only on taste but also on aesthetic presentation, influenced by the refined royal culinary traditions. With each bite, visitors are treated to a sensory experience that celebrates the rich heritage and culinary artistry of this enchanting city.

Convenient transportation

Tourists and runners visiting Hue have a range of transportation options at their disposal, including airplanes, coaches, and trains. Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways, and Vietjet Air offer regular flights to Phu Bai Airport, Hue, which takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Hanoi and 1 hour and 30 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City.

In response to increasing travel demands, Terminal 2 of Phu Bai International Airport commenced operations in April 2023, with a capacity for 5 million passengers annually, including 1 million international travelers and 4 million domestic passengers.

Terminal 2 of Phu Bai Airport, inspired by Ngu Binh Mountain. Photo by Vo Thanh

Terminal 2 of Phu Bai Airport in Hue, inspired by Ngu Binh Mountain. Photo by Vo Thanh

For travelers desiring a more relaxed and scenic journey, trains offer an opportunity to bask in the natural beauty along the route from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or other provinces. With a selection of seating choices, including hard and soft seats, as well as sleeping berths, passengers can customize their experience to match their preferences, whether they prefer air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned accommodations. Alternatively, travelers have the option of taking coaches from Hanoi the night before, arriving in Hue early the following morning.

The VnExpress Marathon Hue 2024 is scheduled for April 21. Registration for the race is ongoing, with ticket prices in the late phase. Runners seeking to immerse themselves in the vibrant sports atmosphere, soak up the festive ambiance, and delve into the cultural richness of the royal court can register for the race here.

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