About 175 athletes from all over Viet Nam will descend on the Central Highland province of Dac Nong on March 27 for the 52nd National Half Marathon Races, an organising committee spokesperson said yesterday.
Running game: Tien Phong newspaper's annual half-marathon will be held in the Central Highlands province of Dac Nong's Gia Nghia Town on March 27. — VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI —
The runners will compete in professional, amateur and youth events in the area around the town of Gia Nghia.
Organised by the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, the event includes a professional 21km run for men and women, and a youth and amateur men's 10km and women's 5km.
The Ha Noi and Army teams sent their athletes to train in the locality since early last week.
"It's a tough race for athletes because they have to face more uphill roads than in urban areas. This year's race will be a challenge for the organising committee as it includes half marathon events", said Ha Noi team coach Nguyen Trung Kien.
"I've competed in many races, but this'll be the first time I have raced on uphill roads in the Central Highland town," said Luong Van Nhat of Ha Noi, who will be competing in the men's 21km.
"However, cool weather will be an advantage for us. I and my team-mates have practised for four hours a day, with an eye on the 21km and 10km events," Nhat said.
The race is expected to be a tough test for all participants in the lead-up to the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia this November.
The event, the biggest of its kind in Viet Nam, offers total prize money exceeding VND140 million (US$7,000).
Last year, Bui Thi Hien from Thai Binh dethroned top runner Truong Thanh Hang in the women's 5km in Ha Noi.
In its 50 years history, the half marathon has seen Hanoian Bui Luong take nine race titles and Nam Dinh's Nguyen Van Thuyet win six. In the women's section, the favourites are Ha Noi's Dang Thi Teo and Nghe Tinh's Tran Thi Xoa, who won seven and six titles respectively.
The first race, solely a 5km event held in Ha Noi in 1958, attracted 72 athletes, including the great Czech runner Emil Zatopek. — VNS