Falling in love with Quy Nhon(*)

Being impressed with Quy Nhon when joining the VnExpress Marathon event held in Quy Nhon on June 9, Marcel Lennartz shared his thoughts on the personal Facebook page. He also then shared his story with Binh Dinh News.

Many of my friends in the Netherlands are from Vietnam or other Asian countries. Being impressed by their very welcoming and friendly nature I decided to visit Vietnam for 1 month in 1992. That one month made me fall in love with the people, the culture, food, weather. The result is that a few years later I returned to Vietnam and at this moment I have been living 24 years in beautiful Vietnam. 

Marcel Lennartz is finishing his 42-km course at VnExpress Marathon 2019. Photo: VnExpress

I used to run a lot in the Netherlands but when I came to Vietnam I stopped for many years, due to medical reasons and there wasn’t any running community, no races and no decent exercising facilities. Only after a friend pushed me to start doing sports again around 2007I got active again. In 2013I joined Runclub.VN, a local running group in Ho Chi Minh City founded by Pulse Active and in 2014 I took over as the lead of the group. Thanks to the support of members in our group we have since grown significantly in number of training sessions, quality of training sessions and runners. A few years ago I organised 2016 I became an IRONMAN Certified Coach. 

I heard about the VnExpress Marathon” event via Facebook, fellow runners, colleagues and the newspapers. I  initially wondered whether this marathon would attract as many as runners as it was not close to Ho Chi Minh City and flight ticket prices were not the cheapest. Having said that, it was amazing to see that many runners came from all over the country and the competition was organised very well in a city, which is beautiful in every single aspect, with clean, wide roads, friendly people and availability of hotels. 

Quy Nhon– love at first sight

I arrived at the airport and my friends had advised me to take a bus. A high quality bus tookme to the city quicklyI stayed at a small, clean and well-priced hotel,which is located on a walking distance from the start location. In the evening I enjoyed some delicious local food with friends.

Usually the day before a run I do almost nothing, eat on time and have proper food. However,I was told by one of my colleagues, who was born in Quy Nhon, that I should visit some places. I, thus, ignored all usual running rituals and enjoyed swimming at Hon Kho island, drinking some beer and eating local food with some good friends.

On the day of the event,  we began to pick up the race kit a little late in the morning and I had hoped that it was possible to pick up the kits later in the evening. The pickup was a bit messy. It didn’t bother me but for some participants this might be an issue. I collected race BIBs for myself and some friends

With most races,I hadifficulties getting away and finding my own pace because roads were too narrow and there were too many runners. This was not the case in Quy Nhon beause of plenty of space available on the road, no motorbikes, no cars, no pollution. 

This race had one of the best hydration stations Ihave seen at any races. Plenty of water, bananas and a lot of ice and sponges were available at every hydration station, which really helped us to cool down the body and stay proper hydrated.

If I hadn’t known that this race was organised for the first time, I had not believed it.

I had expected that it was going to be very hot and maybe even a bit boring. Nothing of that was the case. The route was interesting and it was not too hot for me. Apart from the last few kilometresthere was no traffic at all. 

Local people are by nature very cheerful and helpful

I was also impressed by local people in Quy Nhon. First of all, police officers were really friendly. They kept cheering runners, ensuring the roads clear all the time and smilingOne of them even asked if he could take a picture with me. 

Either the people in Quy Nhon are by nature very cheerful and helpful or they were very well trained by the organisers. I assume it is a combination of both. Volunteers were cheerful, cheering up the runners and simply very kind. On the road there were some locals offering mangoes to the runners. Meanwhile, the medical staff were very visibly available throughout the course and there was no lack of salonpas spray.

I could say that I had a very enjoyable and well organised race in a beautiful city. This race deserves to be an annual returning event based on the beautiful city and a from A to Z very well organised event. This is also the very first time that I have visited Quy Nhon city and it will for sure not be the last time.

Marcel Lennartz

(*) The title is added by Binh Dinh News’ editorial staff

MarcelLennartz isa Dutch engineer triathlete, sports enthusiast and currently work as general director for White Architecture (a British Architecture firm) and often support a Hong Kong based sports events management & marketing company in organizing sport events in Asia. 



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