Ha Long Bay Marathon

2016 Nov 26

  • Type: Half marathon
  • Price: VND 1391752 (~ USD 61)

 

Registration

I signed up through their website. The nationality came out wrong so I contacted them through e-mail, and they responded surprisingly quickly. The website was slow but looked very modern. Apparently this year was the very first marathon. They had full marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 2k.

Pre-Race Expo

The expo was held at Novotel. As expected, since it was a very small race (fewer than 1000 participants for all the races combined), there wasn’t much. The expo seemed a little disorganized with quite a bit of wait for the packet pickup. The technical shirt was thin and very small, so I didn’t wear it for the race.

The race course:

Morning of the Race

I had some oranges from the breakfast buffet and asked a receptionist at the front desk to call a cab for me. The cab took 10 minutes to arrive and the road on the way to the starting point was blocked so we had to detour. The cab ride costed VND 65k (~ USD 3).

The weather was a little chilly, which was good. The full marathon participants had already left so half marathon participants were warming up near the start line. Since it was a small race I was standing very close to the start line, which was unusual since I am a slow runner and I usually have to wait for half an hour after the gun to get to the start time.

 

Race

The view during the race was great, since it was mostly along the water.

The course had a bit of hills, especially along the Bai Chay bridge, which was also insanely windy. The wind was so strong I had a hard time keeping my eyes open! I could feel the dust/debris in the wind scratching my skin as well. I was worried that my bib would fall off so I pressed it against myself with one hand while I was on the bridge.

There were water stations here and there. It was pretty much a small desk set up with water, pocari sweat and banana. They handed out whole bottles, so I saw a lot of bottles lying around throughout the race. I think I also saw the volunteers redistributing the liquid in the bottles, which made me think they were reusing bottles somebody was drinking…

I did a few high-five’s with locals here and there, and one person on motorbike (who was parked near the road) actually got off the vehicle and wanted to take a picture with me out of nowhere. I don’t think he spoke English since he was just gesturing to me, so I posed for him. I found this hilarious.

 

Finish Line

After 2 and a half hours of running, I finally got to the finish line. I was absolutely exhausted. I had some water, got my finisher’s medal, and ate the free Banh Mi sandwich. The cab ride back costed around VND 40k (~ USD 2).

 

 

 

Thoughts

I had done 3 half marathons prior to this one, but this was my very first race abroad. I was nervous and a little worried. I also had to pack extra since I needed to bring my running gear. But I absolutely loved the experience and I would love to do another race abroad. It’s a very interesting way to see the area and to interact with locals (surprisingly).

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