Vietnam is among slowest marathon countries

By Sen    June 15, 2019 | 07:46 pm PT
Vietnam is among slowest marathon countries
A study found marathon runners from Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia are the slowest in the world. Photo by Reuters.
Vietnam is one of the three worst performing countries at half and full marathons and 10-kilometer races, a recent study has found.

The 2019 State of Running study by the International Association of Athletics Federations and running journal RunRepeat looked into 107.9 million race results of participants from 196 countries in 70,000 events since 1986.

In Asia, the preferred distance is 10 km, but Vietnam does not perform well. Vietnamese runners rank 194 out of 196 countries, clocking almost a minute faster than their neighbors, the Thais, at 01:25:01 to 01:24:17. Nigeria was 16 seconds slower than Thailand (01:25:17), ranked last on the list.

Switzerland has the fastest runners in this category (52:42 minutes).

In half marathons (21 km), Thailand beats Vietnam by several minutes, rolling in at an average of 02:24:56 to 02:30:20. In this category, Vietnam is the second slowest in the world (195th), while Malaysia is at the bottom with 2:36:20. The three countries are the slowest at this distance.

European countries make up the list three fastest.

In the study of slowest nations in full marathons (42.195 km), Vietnam (5:19:34) ranks 194th, with the Philippines (5:25:35) and Malaysia (5:46:24) bringing up the bottom. Spain leads the world in three hours, 53 minutes and 59 seconds, followed by Switzerland and Portugal.

But the study admitted that its dataset covers "96 percent of the United States race results, 91 percent of the race results from the European Union, Canada, and Australia and a smaller sample from Asia, Africa and South America."

Vietnamese are motivated to run because the activity is more social and psychological rather than achievement-focused, the study said.

Vietnamese women are not much into distance running, with only 14.59 percent running in marathons, 24.53 percent in half marathons and 45.4 percent in 10km races.

Vietnam is among the youngest running nations, with the average age of marathon runners being 31.6 years old.

Jens Jakob Andersen, founder of RunRepeat told VnExpress International: "Being slow isn't necessarily bad." One has to decide the purpose of running, he said. If it's for health reasons, being fast or slow does not matter.

The study can be found at

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