Sports - February 7, 2023 | 11:25 pm PT

Key facts about VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight

Attractions along the race course, new items in the race kit bag, and several side events are among the highlights of VnExpress Marathon HCMC Midnight to be held in the heart of Saigon this weekend.

Timetable and location

The midnight race will start at 0 a.m. on Sunday at Tao Dan Park, one of the city's largest parks.

Full-marathon athletes will start at midnight, 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer runners at 0:30 a.m., and half-marathon runners at 1:15 a.m.

Runners will run through many central routes in District 1 and Thu Duc City, before finishing in front of the Saigon Zoo in the early morning. Temperatures will likely be between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Runners at VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight. Photo by VM

Impressive race course

VnExpress Marathon HCMC Midnight's race course is ideal for setting personal records, thanks to good road surface quality, and a small number of turns.

The 42-kilometer race route of VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight. Photo by VM

This course is among the most stunning and modern in the VnExpress Marathon system to date, according to the organizers.

The first 5 kilometers will pass through vibrant central streets. Runners can admire attractions such as Notre-Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, Central Post Office, Opera House, and Bach Dang Wharf.

Runners will turn around at the intersection of Vo Van Kiet - Ho Tung Mau to head to Ton Duc Thang Street, then run along Bach Dang Wharf and finally to the finish line on Le Duan Street.

Running through this area, runners can see the city's sparkling lights. The run will feel romantic with the blooming pink trumpet.

The rest of the journey will feature Ba Son Bridge, the city's new symbol, and the Thu Thiem peninsula, a new urban area with fresh, spacious streets.

There are white-light traffic signals along the routes. In low-light areas, the organizers will arrange extra lights to ensure a high-quality running track.

The tournament meets the standards of The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) in all four distances. With the AIMS certification, runners can use their results as part of the criteria to register for major global marathons such as the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, or Berlin Marathon.

New items in the race kit bag

VnExpress Marathon HCMC Midnight's race kit bag has two new items: foam rollers and LED running lights for the 21-kilometer and 42-kilometer runners.

The tubular rollers, which bear the VnExpress Marathon logo, help to boost the recovery process and lessen muscle tension after the run.

The battery life of LED running lights is sufficient for a race lasting longer than six hours. The lights feature the tournament name, logo, and four Led bulbs. Its compact and lightweight design makes it easier to attach them to shirts, pants, bib belts, pants belts, and running shoes.

The race-kit bag also includes shirts, hats, bibs, soft drinks, energy bars, functional foods, and several items from the sponsor.

Medals and T-shirts bearing Saigon's imprint

The overall design of the medal represents the French colonial architecture in Saigon. The People's Committee headquarters is depicted in the medal's center. The 110-year-old building is inspired by the city hall of Paris, with the facade overlooking the Saigon River.

Buildings symbolizing the city's rise, such as Bitexco, Landmark 81, Ba Son Bridge, or Masterise Home's apartment buildings also appeared in the medal. The main color of the item is dark purple, making the overall medal look like a doorway overlooking the starlit night sky.

The medal also includes images of buildings that represented the rise, including Bitexco, Landmark 81, Ba Son Bridge, and the apartment buildings owned by Masterise Home. Dark purple is the medal's main color, inspired by the city's starry night sky.

On the back of the medal, a few lyrics from the song "Starry City at Night" by musician Tran Long An.

The tournament's official T-shirts also bear the unique mark of HCMC.

The shirt's main colors are black and yellow. The back has a striped pattern that is reminiscent of Landmark 81, the city's highest building. The color yellow symbolizes youthfulness and positive energy, and is similar to the shade of the Ochna mai blossoms, which represent spring in southern Vietnam.

The 21-km and 42-km finishers shirts have similar designs but were painted in different colors. The 21-km shirt is navy blue, while the 42-km shirt is magenta-pink.

Exciting activities

On February 10 and 11, runners will receive their bibs at Hoa Lu Stadium, which stands at the corner of Dinh Tien Hoang and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in downtown District 1.

Hoa Lu Stadium is one of the well-known destinations for sports training in HCMC. It frequently hosts cultural, entertainment, sports events, and shopping festivals.

The marathon's starting location is on Truong Dinh Street, in front of Tao Dan Park, which covers more than 10 hectares and was originally part of the Saigon Governor's Palace.

The finish line is on Le Duan Street, in front of the Saigon Zoo. The road surface has been renovated to be spacious and of high quality, making it ideal for sprints.

The finish line is in front of Thao Cam Vien. Photo by Quynh Tran

The distance between the starting area and the finish line is around two kilometers. For easy transportation, runners can pick a motel between these two locations.

Side events

The Kun Marathon, which is open to kids between the ages of six and ten, is a VnExpress Marathon side event. For the HCMC marathon, the kids' run will be held on Saturday along 700 meters of Le Duan Street, gathering 2,000 children.

Children will be divided into groups based on their ages.

Runners can also visit 20 sponsor's booths for a variety of other activities like minigames, and check in for valuable gifts. Participants will also have the chance to purchase sports products at a discount.

VnExpress Marathon will also set up a food court for athletes like in previous tournaments, which is also a spot for runners to socialize after finishing the challenge.

There are plenty of dishes available here, including local specialties, sausages, snacks, electrolyte drinks, beer, fruits, and ice cream.