Hello, on March 19th 2016, you’ll be organizing the Vietnam Victory Challenge Trail Run. Can you tell us where it is located?
The VVC Trail Run is located in Dalat, Vietnam, a beautiful mountain village in the south of Vietnam. Dalat is the source of much of the produce and flowers that are sold throughout Vietnam. There are tall pines and cool evenings that provide a great retreat from the busy metropolises of Ho Chi Min (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi.
This will be the inaugural event. What motivated its creation?
We were actually approached by many people in the Ho Chi Minh running community requesting that we organize an event. We had hosted a highly acclaimed mountain bike race the year before and our reputation fortunately preceded us! As the economy in Vietnam improves many of the people now have the luxury time and money for sport. But events- especially professionally organized events- have been sparse. We are happy and humbled to help fill the void and help the runners in Vietnam have an exciting event to work towards.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The route will be challenging (thus the name!) but certainly within reach. Much of the courses are only used by local coffee farmers and the races will at times wind through these fragrant farms. The climbs and descents are steep, racers should appropriately prepare for these. They will run through forest trails, past hillside greenhouses and see things that even many Vietnamese have not seen. Wildlife should be limited to the occasional stray cow. Each race begins and ends at family-friendly locations with full facilities and food purchasing options. What are the distances on the agenda?
We are offering three distances: a 50k Ultra Marathon, 21k Half and 10k Fun run. Something for every level and experience of runner.
p(question). How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We expect to have at least 70 runners comprised of about 50% local Vietnamese and 50% foreigners, either living in Vietnam or in the Southeast Asia region.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
Weather in mid-March will be rather cool in the morning, perhaps 20 degrees Celsius or lower, the average high is 25c between the noon and 2pm hours. The trails are littered with trees and should provide much shade along the way. It is the driest month of the year so no rainfall is to be expected. The race times are started early to take advantage of the coolest hours of the day. 5:30am for the 50k and 7:00am for the 21k and 10k.
Have you planned festivities around the event?
This year the 50k course will finish and converge with the 21k and 10k courses allowing all the racers to cheer each other on. The races finishes at the Valley of Love park where we will have a traditional banh mi sandwich for the racers to help recover from the ride and watch the award ceremonies with their families.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Da Lat before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Some of the best attractions in Dalat is the mountain gondola and the many waterfalls and flower parks around Dalat. These can all easily be found on Tripadvisor.com. There are many Vietnamese restaurants such as the Goc Ha Thanh and Trong Dong (also on TripAdvisor). If you want pizza go to Bingos and we also highly recommend One More Café, run by an Australian expat, its delicious!
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Vietnam Victory Challenge Trail Run?
The VVC Trail run is an intimate and professionally organized trail run with spectacular and all-too-often unseen views of the mountains in Vietnam!
Interview with Taunya Lofgran. She manages with her husband SEA Sports Marketing in Vietnam to promote sport throughout Vietnam. We have been involved in cycling, running and other outdoor events for over 15 years. This is our second year as event organizers.