Formers SEA Games champions Lai, Binh dominate Imperial Hue Marathon

Nguyen Van Lai, who dominated the regional men's 5,000m and 10,000m for many years, took his first full marathon gold medal.

Viet Nam News

Viet Nam News



Nguyễn Văn Lai wins his first marathon title at the Imperial Huế Marathon on April 16. Photo courtesy of VnExpress Marathon

April 17, 2023

HÀ NỘI — Formers SEA Games champions Nguyễn Văn Lai and Phạm Thị Bình won their categories’ titles at the VnExpress Marathon Imperial Huế 2023 on April 16.

Lai, who dominated the regional men’s 5,000m and 10,000m for many years, took his first full marathon gold medal with a time of nearly 2hr 32min.

Lai and several others separated from the bunch, which included foreign runners from Japan, the Netherlands and Kenya, at the beginning, and he led the race until the finish line.

His time was two minutes better than Bùi Thế Anh, the reigning champion, who did not compete as he is with the national team training for the 32nd SEA Games.

Last year, Lai also ran in Huế and topped the half marathon pool.

Finishing second and third yesterday were veteran Lê Văn Tuấn and Triệu Tiến Luyện.

Phạm Thị Bình secures her marathon gold medal for the first time wearing running shoes. — Photo courtesy of VnExpress Marathon

Bình meanwhile finished the women’s elite race with a time of 3:05.25.

It was her second win in VnExpress Marathon Series. The first one was the Sparkling Quy Nhơn Marathon last June.

“I don’t think that I can win, just want to reach my time target,” said Bình, who won Việt Nam’s first and only SEA Games women’s marathon title for Việt Nam in 2013.

She said an easy win for her mainly because many strong rivals were absent.

Although she did not run as fast as she did at the Quy Nhơn event (2.58 hours), she was happy because it was the first time she was wore shoes for the whole race.

Bình is famous across the region for always competing in bare feet. She would lose the skin on her feet, and her soles would shrink if running with shoes.

Bình was in second and third place in the race’s first half. She went ahead at the 20km mark but suffered cramps 10km later. She had to pause for moments to solve the problem before continuing her race.

“Experience from many years running internationally helped to fix the problems and overcome inconvenient feelings with the shoes,” she said. “The pacer, volunteers and police supported me to cross the finish line safely.”

Almost 10,500 athletes compete at the third VnExpress Marathon Imperial Huế. — Photo courtesy of VnExpress Marathon

In the 42km race for amateurs, Hứa Thuận Long took the top place. He was followed by Đặng Anh Quyết and Nguyễn Đăng Khoa. The women’s winner was Nguyễn Thị Minh Hiền, who left behind Tạ Thị Minh Nghĩa and Trần Thị Hoa.

In the half marathon, Lý Nhân Tín ​​and ​​​​​Đoàn Thu Hằng took the men’s and women’s titles. While it was Tín’s second time winning a race in the VnExpress Marathon series, Hằng successfully defended her top place in Huế.

The winners of the 10km race were Vòng Vành Long (men) and Nguyễn Thị Thanh Xuân (women). It was Tống Nguyễn Gia Hưng (men) and Đinh Thị Kim Phượng (women) taking the 5km golds, respectively.

In the third edition, the Imperial Huế Marathon saw a double number of participants, increasing from 4,700 in 2022 to 10,500 this year.

The organisers delivered 134 awards for winners of different categories with a total cash of VNĐ1.1 billion (US$46,900). VNS

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