Kenyan wishes to win all Vietnamese running tournaments

By Thy An   April 20, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
Kiptoo Edwin has won two tournaments in a row in Da Nang and Hanoi and expects to be the new champion at VM Hue 2024.

Joining the stream of people flocking to Hue to receive Bib on Saturday, Kenyan runner Kiptoo Edwin carefully checked the products in his backpack before leaving the 42-kilometer counter.

VnExpress Marathon Hue 2024 is his third tournament in Vietnam within one month.

The 32-year-old runner set the goal of winning the full marathon with an estimated maximum time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Before that, he completed a full marathon in Da Nang and a half marathon in Tay Ho in Hanoi, with the results of 2 hours 35 minutes, and 1 hour 11 minutes, respectively.

Kiptoo Edwin tiếp tục chinh phục cự ly full marathon tại VM Huế 2024, sau khi vô địch hai giải chạy liên tiếp tại Việt Nam chỉ trong vòng một tháng. Ảnh:Tiến Nguyễn

Kiptoo Edwin is set to conquer the full marathon at VM Hue 2024 after winning two consecutive tournaments in Vietnam in one month. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Nguyen

For Kiptoo, running is not only a hobby or passion but also the main job that helps him maintain his family's finances. Thus he aims to win them all.

He used to work as a teacher in Kenya. Even though he loved this job, the low income made him depressed.

In 2022, due to the severe impact of the pandemic, harsh living conditions, and financial pressure, Kiptoo was forced to give up his teaching career and switch to athletics.

According to his Kenyan friends, continuously competing at as many tournaments as possible is one of the fastest ways to make money. So Kiptoo decided to devote all his time to physical fitness, intense training, and competing in tournaments around the world.

For more than two years, he has participated in dozens of large and small running events.

Compared to other Kenyan runners, Kiptoo is considered a new face in the running system in Vietnam.

Impressive results in Da Nang and Tay Ho made him a bright candidate for the men's 42km Hue championship this year.

Kiptoo kiểm tra Bib trước khi rời quầy. Ảnh:Tiến Nguyễn

Edwin Kiptoo checks the Bib package of VM Hue 2024 before leaving the counter, April 20, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Nguyen

Last year, Kiptoo also participated in a major running race in Ho Chi Minh City, but his results were not outstanding.

But that event was a twist of fate that made him meet two other passionate runners, Le Hoan, 37, and his mother, Pham Thi Hong Yen, 60.

"That day, I saw a tall foreigner standing clumsily at the Bib counter, so I came to ask if there was anything I could do to help. Knowing that Kiptoo also came to get the Bib late like me, I went with him for support," Hoan said.

While waiting to receive the race kit, Hoan learned more information about Kiptoo and felt sympathy for his difficult situation.

The Kenyan guy came to Vietnam for the first time because he heard that there are many running events all year round.

However, due to a lack of conditions and time constraints, Kiptoo only had time to book a plane ticket.

So Hoan and his mom, Yen, supported Kiptoo in booking hotels, completing check-in procedures, and other things anytime he returned to Vietnam.

The 37-year-old runner praised Kiptoo for being gentle, honest, and determined to try hard to overcome his difficult situation.

This year, in addition to helping the foreign friend register for running tournaments, Hoan and his mother also helped him with accommodation, food, and travel expenses for the past month.

"He runs to earn money and considers it his main job, unlike runners who run for passion like me and my mother; that's why he needs to save as much money as possible. My mother and I also love Kiptoo, so we want to create the maximum conditions possible to help him practice and achieve the best results without having to worry about anything," Hoan said.

Anh Lê Hoàn (phải), Kiptoo (giữa) và bà Yến nhận Bib VM Huế 2024, sáng 20/4. Ảnh:Tiến Nguyễn

(From L) Pham Thi Hong Yen, Edwin Kiptoo, and Le Hoan receive VM Hue 2024 bibs on April 20, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Nguyen

On Sunday, the three of them and 8,000 other runners will together conquer the VnExpress Marathon Hue 2024.

The route this year has been adjusted, starting at Le Duan Street (near Nha Do Gate) and the finishing at Quang Duc Gate for all four distances.

Kiptoo and other full marathon runners will start at 3 a.m., then 21km at 4 a.m., 10km at 4:45 a.m., and 5km at 5:00 a.m.

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