Thousands Cheer up at Hanoi's First Night Marathon

By Ho Binh Minh

HANOI, Oct 19 (DHA) - Nearly 6,000 people have joined a night marathon held for the first time in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, as part of safety measures even though the Southeast Asian country has successfully controlled the COVID-19 outbreaks.

But given the complicated situation of the pandemic elsewhere in the world that limits travel, the VPBank Hanoi Marathon ASEAN 2020 in its third season also allowed foreigners and Vietnamese runners who were not able to come to Hanoi to join online races which take place on the same day with the Hanoi event.

Organizers said apart from the Hanoi race, thousands of runners across Vietnam have registered to join, from norther provinces of Lao Cai and Quang Ninh to the Central Highlands to the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc island. They are joined by runners in the United States, Germany, Japan, Australia, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

To ensure safety for runners, the start time for the four distances of the Hanoi race were set up with intervals of about two hours, with the full marathon starting at mid-night into Oct 18, while runners of the 5-km category, the shortest distance, left eight hours later.

Thousands Cheer up at Hanoi's First Night Marathon

Pacers are getting ready before the Start time. Photo by: ROC


But before getting approval to go ahead with the race, organizers had to persuade the authorities how to ensure absolute safety for the thousands of runners attending the competition.

Vietnam, which faced two waves of outbreaks that has infected more than 1,100 people and killed 35 of them, has recorded no community infections in 46 days. As socio-economic activities resume, the country's GDP would rise 1.8 percent this year, even though that of Asia would contract 0.7 percent, the Asian Development Bank forecast.

"Just looking at this crowd, I think it is simply a miracle to be able to organize this marathon, as we've left behind the epidemic," a Hanoian said on the sidelines of the awards ceremony to present prizes to the marathon's winners at Hoan Kiem lake in central Hanoi.

Thousands Cheer up at Hanoi's First Night Marathon

Runners of the 5-km distance wait at their Start line next to Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi's downtown. Photo by ROC.


Apart from several organisational glitches, participants were happy with the proceedings.

"(I've) completed the VPBank Hanoi Marathon beyond expectations. I may take much of emotions now to write on," wrote Nghia Vo on his Facebook page. He came the second in the men's 42-km category for non-professional runners.

"That feeling when you win the inertia, personal 'reasons' and even injuries while running (as the body began to react when forced by the mind) to cross the Finish! That is truly the most wonderful feeling," runner Nguyen Manh Tuan after finishing the 21-km category.

Thousands Cheer up at Hanoi's First Night Marathon

The VPBank Hanoi Marathon ASEAN 2020 held on October 18 in Hanoi and which is connected by online races in various locations in Vietnam and abroad has attracted thousands of runners. Photo by ROC.


Held annually since 2018, the VPBank Hanoi Marathon has been accredited by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). It joined the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) in 2019, with the running course standardized by AIMS experts. Runner's results at the Hanoi marathon can be used for qualification to join the Boston Marathon.


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