Thanh ready to prove himself king of national marathon

Runner Hoàng Nguyên Thanh is ready to defend his top position at the Tiền Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship which will feature about 12,000 participants by the end of March in Phú Yên Province.


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Hoàng Nguyên Thanh wins the Run to Live event in HCM City on March 10. Thanh is ready for the National Marathon Championship later this month in Phú Yên. Photo courtesy of Run to Live

HÀ NỘI — Runner Hoàng Nguyên Thanh is ready to defend his top position at the Tiền Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship which will feature around 12,000 runners at the end of March.

The national record holder has been in Phú Yên Province for several days to prepare for the race.

Last year in Lai Châu Province, Nguyên left all rivals behind to win the full marathon event in a time of 2hr 36.02min, setting a record of winning the national oldest marathon event four times.

“I have had a one-month intensive training camp with teammates in Phan Thiết City,” Thanh said.

“It has the same weather conditions and beach-side routes as Phú Yên. I am now really energetic and ready for the tournament.

“Tiền Phong Marathon is the most important local tournament so we have prepared carefully for it. Only bad weather could affect my result. I have checked the forecast which said it would be raining on March 31. I set a target of running under 2.40hr.”

The top athlete has trained on hilly roads to improve his strength, running up to 40km each day.

“Exercising regularly and persistently is a top priority. This helps me maintain my physical condition to be ready for every tournament,” said Thanh who set the new national record of 2:18.43 at the Asian championship in January in Hong Kong.

Thanh’s main rival will be former SEA Games champion Nguyễn Văn Lai who was runner-up last year.

This year, Lai who mainly runs in the 5,000m and 10,000m events, still targets the top place after his two years of retirement from the national team and switching to marathon.

Thanh also faces strong threats from amateur runners, such as Mai Quý Phong, Phạm Tiến Sản and Lê Văn Tuấn, who were allowed to race at the same time as the elites in a national tournament, a new change this year.

“Interestingly, elites and amateurs will start at the same line. Currently, Vietnamese amateur runners have practiced and run well and professionally,” he said.

“Their high achievement is a strong push and creates competitiveness for us to race better and have higher results.”

The women’s race promised top-notch runs from  11 athletes. Among them, SEA Games silver medalist Lê Thị Tuyết is expected to secure a gold medal.  

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Lê Thị Tuyết crosses the finish line of the Hanoi Marathon – Heritage Race 2023. Photo of DHA

Tuyết has not taken part in many races since the Cambodian Games last May. However, her training results were stably improved.

The national champion’s best time was 2:54.33 at last year’s championship where she overcame arch-rival Hoàng Thị Ngọc Hoa to top the podium for the first time.

A year later, Hoa is determined to regain her crown. She has been a regular in the top three in recent amateur tournaments.

Elsewhere, multi-time SEA Games champion Nguyễn Thị Oanh targets her eighth title in a row at the women’s 5,000m event.

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Nguyễn Thị Oanh is hunting her eighth gold in the 5,000m category. Photo Tràng An Marathon

Oanh has had no worthy rival in 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m in both local and regional competitions for years.

This year she will be against 22 rivals including former national Khuất Phương Anh who returned to competition after an 18-month ban because of doping.

Anh asked to leave the national team for one month to improve her fitness to return stronger. She took part in many amateur events and often took first place.

She said the national marathon championship would be a good chance for her to test her ability and prove that she is still at the top of her game. 

Other notable faces are Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà and Bùi Thị Ngân who won gold and bronze at the SEA Games’ 800m event and rising star Nguyễn Thị Ninh who secured silver of the ninth National Sports Games’ marathon in 2022.

According to organisers, these potential athletes would make the 5km a race worth-watching.

Theo Vietnamnews