Hours before VnExpress Marathon (VM) Hanoi Midnight, excited foreign participants are full of expectations for the special event.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, VM Hanoi Midnight has fewer foreign runners than previous VM events. Still, many residing in Hanoi and other localities signed up for the marathon, to feature over 5,500 athletes.
One of them is Ambassador of Sweden in Vietnam, Ann Måwe. She has registered for the 10 km run.
“I’m looking foward to running on the streets of Hanoi at night. This is my first time joining a marathon in Vietnam. It’s only my second year as an ambssador in Vietnam, my first was so busy I didn’t have the time. This will be my son and daughter’s first marathon ever,” she said.
She said she has run 10 km races in Sweden and around the Hanoi’s West Lake, so she believed she could make it in the midnight race, which will begin late on Saturday and continue through Sunday morning.
Dean Pham, a 37-year-old Vietnamese-American born in the U.S., has signed up for the half marathon. He is currently working in Hanoi and has taken part in several marathons in the country before.
“I have run a full marathon before but found it quite long and difficult. For me, the half marathon is a more suitable challenge. It’s a good mix of speed and endurance. Unfortunately, I’ve had some injuries recently so I haven’t prepared enough. Hopefully, I can still finish my run.”
The Hanoi race will be Pham’s first night marathon.
“The best thing about night marathons is that the temperature will be cooler so I think that will help a lot of runners go faster. The streets will be more quiet so it gives a different impression of the city and helps people enjoy the race without so much noise and traffic,” Pham said.
Dean Pham comes to receive his kit for VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight, November 28, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nguyen.
Another half marathon participant is Hanno, 55, a German living in the northern mountainous town Sa Pa. As a running enthusiast, he is really excited about the marathon.
“I like running, I have joined many races all over Vietnam but I have never participated in a midnight run so this will be my first time and it should be interesting.
The preparation for this run is really great and I’m looking forward to enjoy it tonight. Plus, I like running in Hanoi, which is why I came here from Sa Pa today. I have lived there for almost three years now but I have spent 25 years in Vietnam,” Hanno said.
Hanno, a German who has come to Hanoi from Sa Pa to attend the city’s first night marathon. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nguyen.
Matsuda, a 45-year-old Japanese who has been working in Hanoi for four years, has previously joined many marathons in Vietnam.
“This is my 10th marathon in Vietnam already. I have been running for five years.”
He chose the half marathon like most of his friends did because the full marathon to them is quite a long run.
“I haven’t prepared much for this marathon as I registered in the last minute when I saw the information on Facebook. Running in the night is not so hot compared to during the day so I decided to join this one. Hope I won’t fall asleep tonight,” Matsuda said.
Matsuda, a half marathon runner at VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nguyen.
For Lucky, a 45-year-old man from Sri Lanka, Hanoi Midnight will be his first marathon ever.
“I have seen a few VM races before but I have never attended them because I didn’t have a partner. But this time I have one so I will give it a try. I chose the five km run because I’m familiar with this distance. Also, I haven’t taken part in a marathon before and that’s the reason I registered for this one,” Lucky said.
His colleague, Javed, 29, also lives in Hanoi and this will also be his first marathon.
“I prepared for this marathon by running four km every day and I have been doing this for one month. I think the difference between the night version and the day version is the weather. It gets cold and windy in the night so it might cause some difficulties,” Javed said.
Darren Barnard, a 26-year-old English teacher from the U.K. who has been living in Hanoi for one year, will be another first-time Vietnam marathon runner.
“To prepare for this marathon, I ran about four to five days a week around the Tay Ho (West Lake) area. I love Hanoi so much. People here are very friendly and it’s safe here. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to join this event. I have registered for the half marathon,” Barnard said.
To guarantee the safety of thousands of athletes, organizers will set up medical, water and navigation checkpoints. On average, there will be one checkpoint every two kilometers, with eight medical stops in total.
Organizers will further install high-power lighting systems along the way so runners could take great photos. With a clear route and chilly weather, VM Hanoi Midnight may see several personal records set.