Hanoi Half Marathon, 13 December 2009

|I’ve already sworn on this blog that I would never run a road race again, a resolution I made only ten days ago in fact. But it was hard to resist the temptation to compete in the Red River Runners Half Marathon in Hanoi last Sunday. So I’ve already broken my vow.

Happy to have just overtaken that motorbike going around West Lake.

It was more for sentimental reasons that I ran.

First of all, I’m a member of the Red River Runners group, so I wanted to have the fun of racing against my fellow training compatriots. Then of course, there are so few organised running events in Hanoi that I wanted to have the luxury of waking up and competing in my home town. And finally, it was bound to be a small cosy race, with less than 40 people entered for the 21k. Small events are always nice and friendly, something I’m always a fan of.

Hanoi half marathon race start at UN International School.

The course was designed to do a tour of Hanoi’s biggest lake, Tay Ho or West Lake. Starting from the UN International School, we ran out the gates of Ciputra, down the road to hit the lake at the water park before doing an anti-clockwise tour of the water. The event was billed as a “back-to-basics” so there were no traffic restrictions, few supporters, no banners or no loud boom box music. Only water stops every 4-5 kilometres reminded me that I was in fact doing a race and not a training run.

Half Marathon Course route around West Lake (Tay Ho), Hanoi.

Also I was wondering what would happen if I went out really fast and tried to hang on in there. Last time I religiously stuck to just below my AT rate, pottering along at 170. This time, I went hell for leather from the start, trying to keep up with the boys. And accordingly, I died a slow and painful death from 15 kilometres on. In the end, I registered a 1 hour 47 minute result, 8 minutes slower than last week in Siem Reap.

Running down Lac Long Quan with Richard (7th) and Balthazar (6th).

But hey, it was enough to win. And winning meant an all expenses paid trip to Mai Chau lodge for two, which I definitely hope to cash in next year. Heidi, Adele, and Matt did any excellent job, not only organising all the numbers and routes and free t-shirts, but also begging, borrowing and stealing such top class prizes for competitors.

Incidentally, the first man home was Phi in 1:30:39 after a tactically well-paced race. Next was Simon Ernst, then Oliver, both fresh from their Siem Reap halves. Fourth in was John Shirley after a 3:20 marathon in Singapore just last week.

Initial race leaders - Simon (2nd), John (4th) and Olivier (3rd).

The best thing though about doing the half marathon was heading to Jafa afterwards for the three pints of beer and steak sandwich recovery meal.

Did someone mention going to Jafa's for beer and burgers? Definitely puts a smile on my face!

And this time I promise, 2010 New Year’s resolution… no … more … road … racing.

I’ve even started implementing this oath. Next race up, Hong Kong for the King of the Hills Mountain Marathon. And then after that, the Madagui Cup ultra Adventure Race in Saigon in February.

Roll on 2010!

All photos courtesy of Pieter Janssen Photography with more photos of the run here.

2 thoughts on “Hanoi Half Marathon, 13 December 2009

  1. Wow you are really cleaning up there Missus! Fair play!
    That AR in Feb looks awesome!
    King of the Hills MM looks amazing too…do they know you were Queen on the Mountain in Ireland!

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