I have not been able to appreciate running in open pavement for quite a while since I was introduced to trail running five years ago. The road running experience I had lately in Vietnam, however, gave me a different perception of racing through the pavement when I participated the Halong Bay Heritage Marathon on November 25, 2017. I took the 42K category and you might not deem it factual but believe me, it was only the second time I ran a full marathon in the road after the 2011 version of Phoenix Marathon in Davao City.
The Halong Bay Heritage Marathon (HBHM) is one of Vietnam’s most prized foot races where the beautiful scenery of Halong Bay was showcased. The whole course was relatively flat and all runners were treated with some dose of panoramic backdrop. The last week of November signals the start of winter in Vietnam and was perhaps one of the reasons why I succumbed to physical glitch especially in the last 15 kilometers of the race. Somehow, the beautiful view of Halong Bay gave me a bit of relief.
Meanwhile, Halong Bay is worth a destination everybody should visit. Located in the north-east region of Vietnam, it is an attractive open sea scape consistently speckled with mixes of small, medium and big rock formations. The bigger ones have formed into majestic islets while the smaller structures are like milky ways embedded opposite the clear waters of Halong. The UNESCO has not left Halong Bay unnoticed as it was declared one of its World Heritage Sites.
With the very tight schedule I had in Vietnam, I was able to visit few but interesting sites in Halong with my running buddy Oliver Enot. Just beside the starting line we dropped by Bao Tang Quang Ninh Museum, a modern structure in Halong Bay where numerous combat weaponries are exhibited. Of course, who could forget the costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its Southern allies including the United States of America in the 1970s.
The cityscape of Halong is also very colourful especially in the evening as highlighted by the dancing lights of Bai Chay Bridge. From Wyndham Hotel where we stayed for two nights Bai Chay bridge is very visible. And then we visited Halong’s wet and dry market where we bought some souvenir items.
After a few walk through the city streets and hard 42K running I considered Vietnam as another worthy overseas destination. Once again I am gratified by the help of a very good friend Pin for giving me this chance to do the things I love doing – travelling, running and taking pictures. The success of this trip is being offered to you in compliment to your kindness throughout the decade of knowing you as a very generous person.