Nam Dinh running club to make debut at Ho Chi Minh City night run

February 21, 2024 | 09:00 am PT
Forty runners from the northern Nam Dinh Province will participate in the VPBank VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight on March 3, with many aiming for a sub-3 full marathon completion.

Members of the Run18 Club were training during the Tet holidays despite under 15-degree Celsius temperature. Every day, they posted the track log for completing the 10 or 21 km distances. The club created two main challenges of running 21 km for 10 continuous days, and running 10 km for 21 continuous days, to help members maintain their fitness and form in preparation for the HCMC race.

The Ho Chi Minh City 2024 Night Run has been part of Run18's plan since last year.

Pham Anh Quy, the club leader, said it has called for Nam Dinh runners from across the country to participate in the race and received a positive response. "Run18 has participated in many races in central and northern Vietnam, but we have never appeared on such a grand scale in a southern race. This is an opportunity for us to show the spirit and love for marathons of the people from Nam Dinh," said Quy.

Run18 Club practicing for the Ho Chi Minh City night run. Photo courtesy of Run18

Run18 Club members practice for the VPBank VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight 2024. Photo courtesy of Run18

Preparing for the night run is a familiar process for many members, as they participated in the VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight in previous years. The club has also organized extended-night running sessions over the weekends to help runners adjust their biological clocks and acclimate to the conditions of the night time race. Quy said this preparation is particularly essential for the 42 km race.

"We already have some experience with night runs. However, the biggest challenge is the sultry weather of the south during this period," said the club leader, adding that many members are concerned the high temperatures in Ho Chi Minh City in early March could impact their performance, especially for those aiming for sub-3 or sub-3:30 hour finishes.

Daytime temperatures in the southern region often exceed 30 degrees Celsius in early March, with midnight temperatures around 25 degrees, while it's cooler in the north.

"Helping members adapt and prevent heat shock is the club's top priority at this time," Quy said.

To address the temperature difference, Run18 members have been participating in heat training sessions for an hour at noon, consistently keeping up this practice two to three times per week. Midday temperatures in Nam Dinh often surpass 20 degrees Celsius, even 25 these days.

According to Quy, while it may not be a perfect replication of the race conditions, it significantly helps runners better prepared. Members aiming for sub-3 or sub-3:30 will travel to Ho Chi Minh City early to adjust to the local climate and familiarize themselves with the race course.

Pham Anh Quy - Head of the Run18 club at VM Hai Phong 2023. Photo by VM

Pham Anh Quy, Head of the Run18 club at VM Hai Phong 2023. Photo by VM

VnExpress Marathon took place in seven cities along with an aquathlon competition last year, attracting 75,000 runners.

In Ho Chi Minh City, runners had the opportunity to race along a route certified by AIMS, passing by various landmarks with a dozen water, medical, and sanitation stations, supported by hundreds of volunteers, police officers, and militias to ensure safety and security.

Most Run18 members are participating in the Ho Chi Minh City night race for the first time. The club's representative said that achieving high ranks is not their top priority. Besides displaying team spirit, the club sees this event as an opportunity for people from Nam Dinh to gather, explore Ho Chi Minh City's landmarks together, and exchange experience on club development with other running clubs.

"We will take photos at the Independence Palace and the walking street to commemorate the spring tournament," Quy said.

Run 18 is considered a pioneering running club in Nam Dinh, established in 2019 when the marathon movement in Vietnam was just emerging. At that time, Quy gathered around 20 regular runners from around Vi Xuyen Lake in Nam Dinh City into a group with the goal of fostering the running movement and promoting health training.

A group of Nam Dinh runners participating in the VM Ha Long 2023. Photo courtesy of Run18

A group of Nam Dinh runners in the VM Ha Long 2023. Photo courtesy of Run18

With the development of the marathon movement in Vietnam, Run18 has expanded to more than 2,000 members. Among them are numerous individuals who have achieved the sub-3 milestone. In addition to weekly and monthly training sessions and activities, Run18 frequently organizes events to connect runners from Nam Dinh living in other provinces and fundraising activities for charity.

Most recently, the group organized the "Running home for Tet" program from Hanoi to Nam Dinh, covering 126 km. The fundraising program received VND40 million to support underprivileged students in Hai Hau District. In early 2024, Run18 made headlines by organizing the Nam Dinh Half Marathon with nearly 1,000 participants, aiming to become an annual event.

According to Quy, the marathon movement in Nam Dinh has great potential, especially as the community shows increasing concern for health. The province also has a tradition of sports enthusiasm and has produced top athletes in track and field such as Nguyen Thi Huyen and Duong Van Thai. "We aim to further expand the club's scale. Through top competitions like the VnExpress Marathon, we want the community to see the dynamic image of Nam Dinh people, who are passionate about sports and always give their all in competitions," said the club's leader.

VPBank VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight kicks off the VnExpress Marathon series in 2024. The event is expected to host 11,000 participants who will start at Tao Dan Park, pass through famous landmarks including the Thu Thiem and Ba Son bridges, before finishing at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden. All distances in the marathon meet AIMS standards.

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