Hue teacher ignites running passion among students

March 12, 2024 | 08:06 pm PT
An informatics teacher in Hue frequently shares motivational stories of runners and encourages her students to engage in running to enhance their physical fitness.

Tran Thi Y Nhi at Thuan Hoa High School in Hue is not only known for her dedication in the classroom but also for her passion for running. Dubbed the "marathon teacher" by her students, the 31-year-old is a familiar face in the local running community.

Outside of her teaching duties, Nhi would lace up her running shoes and hit the road, inspiring many of her students to embrace a healthy lifestyle through running. She was the first teacher at Thuan Hoa High School to complete a full marathon two years ago.

Nhi participating in the VnExpress Marathon Hue 2023. Photo by VM

Tran Thi Y Nhi participates in the VnExpress Marathon Hue 2023. Photo by VM

With her passion for sports stemming from her childhood days of playing badminton and participating in aerobics, Nhi took up running in mid-2020 after she joined the Q1R running group in Hue. She was motivated by their dynamic sporting spirit, fitness, and confidence. Guided by seasoned runners like Nguyen Thi Ngot, Tran Dinh Phin, and Nguyen Van Lau, Nhi honed her skills and embraced the challenges of long-distance running.

The inaugural VnExpress Marathon Hue took place that same year and Nhi eagerly signed up, along with hundreds of runners from the ancient capital. Initially registering for the 10 km race, Nhi soon craved a bigger challenge and switched to the 21 km distance. It was the first time she experienced the vibrant atmosphere of a marathon, with runners converging from all over the country, enlivening the streets of Hue. Thousands moved in harmony along the course, exchanging high-fives and celebrating together at the finish line.

"I trained for 4 months for the 21 km, but it felt too short. Seeing others complete the 42 km looked so exhilarating that I wanted to do the same to fully enjoy the race," Nhi said.

Following the success of the 2020 VnExpress Marathon Hue, the local community began placing greater emphasis on sports, particularly amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, when health awareness surged. In early 2021, the Hue Runners club emerged, attracting hundreds of members. Nhi and other seasoned runners actively contributed to the club's management, fostering the growth of the burgeoning community and devising training programs to propel the movement forward.

During her interactions with fellow runners, Nhi was inspired by countless stories of perseverance and resilience within the running community, from seniors triumphantly completing 21 km and 42 km races to individuals using running as a tool to overcome health challenges and body concerns. These experiences not only enriched her life but also equipped her with valuable insights on community engagement and empathy.

Nhi brought these stories to her classroom, making the otherwise dry IT lessons more lively and injecting a dose of motivation into her students' academic journey. "I want the students to understand that their educational pursuits and future endeavors resemble a marathon, filled with obstacles. To achieve success, they must cultivate perseverance, dedication, and resilience," Nhi said.

In 2021, Nhi organized regular training sessions for a group of over 10 students. After school hours, she and her students embarked on vigorous runs together, pushing their limits until they were drenched in sweat. Participating mainly in 5 km and 10 km races, the group bonded over their shared passion for running.

Y Nhi at Thuan Hoa High School, Hue. Photo courtesy of Y Nhi

Tran Thi Y Nhi at Thuan Hoa High School in Hue. Photo courtesy of Tran Thi Y Nhi

For the 3rd season of the VnExpress Marathon Hue, Nhi gifted short-distance bibs to outstanding students. As the 2024 edition approaches, Nhi also plans to raise funds to purchase bibs for her students to participate. According to Nhi, her proudest achievement lies in instilling motivation, a passion for sports, and a healthy lifestyle in the younger generation, who are often influenced by the allure of modern life, technology, and social media.

As for her personal achievements, the Hue runner fulfilled her dream of conquering the full marathon in mid-2022 at the VnExpress Marathon Hue, crossing the finish line after 5 hours. A year later, during the same event, Nhi set a new personal best of 4 hours and 28 minutes. Nhi has also participated in other VnExpress Marathon events in Nha Trang, Ha Long, and Quy Nhon.

"The full marathon experience was wonderful. I could admire all the beautiful scenery, had plenty of time to enjoy the race atmosphere, and it motivated me to train harder," the teacher said.

Besides training with her students, Nhi will join forces with 1,400 members of the Hue Runners club at the upcoming VnExpress Marathon Hue on April 21, with 800 of them tackling the challenging 21 km and 42 km distances.

For over two months, Nhi and Hue Runners Club have been training diligently for the upcoming race. Guided by tailored training programs designed by the management board, separate groups have been established for each race distance, with members committing to weekly mileage targets ranging from 30 to 50 kilometers. With the race being held in their hometown, more than half of the club's members, including Nhi herself, are determined to surpass their personal bests.

Members of Hue Runners club participating in the VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight 2023. Photo courtesy of Y Nhi

Members of Hue Runners club participating in the VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight 2023. Photo courtesy of Tran Thi Y Nhi

For Nhi, the VnExpress Marathon Hue holds a special significance, as it provides an opportunity to showcase the charms of her hometown to visitors from across the world. "What we like is that the organizers coordinate with authorities to provide runners with free entrance to many historical sites. As a Hue native, I feel proud that friends from everywhere can come here not just to run but also to experience the culture, history, and beauty of the ancient capital," she said.

Reflecting on her journey as a runner over the past three years, the Hue teacher said it has transformed her into a more active and optimistic individual, equipping her with invaluable life skills and a newfound sense of vitality. Contrary to viewing running as a detractor from her teaching responsibilities, Nhi sees it as a complementary endeavor that enriches her ability to connect with her students, fostering creativity, and enhancing communication skills.

The registration for VnExpress Marathon Hue is open. Interested participants can sign up here.

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