By Thanh Nga
Nguyễn Văn Phúc will compete in the 42km category of the Tiền Phong National Marathon Championship 2022 this weekend – at the age of 70 years young.
He will be the oldest participant in this year’s competition and will break the record he set himself at last year’s event.
“The event’s organising board announced that I am the oldest athlete in this year’s competition. I feel very happy and excited. It’s rare to be able to run at the age of 70 like me,” Phúc told Việt Nam News.
“After participating in the Tiền Phong NationalMarathon Championship last year, I planned to attend again this year. I will be 70 years old and it will be great to run in this exciting tournament again,” Phúc added.
To prepare for the marathon, Phúc runs 10km every morning. He runs 21km and 42km monthly too.
“I train hard every day. To run a marathon, endurance is the most important. Recently, however, I have had shin pain so I reduce the intensity of my workouts. I will try to complete the 42km event this year in about five hours, better than last year,” said Phúc.
Last year, Phúc finished the tough race with a time of five hours 11 minutes and 30 seconds, at the age of 69.
Born and raised in the central province of Hà Tĩnh, Phúc enlisted in the army and served in the Trường Sơn mountain range.
“As a Trường Sơn soldier who specialised in installing petroleum pipes from the north to the battlefield, I was used to running. For me, running or playing sports is in my blood,” said Phúc.
Phúc lived in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum for more than 40 years and has two children and four grandchildren. He owns a car tire business there and considers it as his second home.
When he’s not running his business, Phúc is training. He has a beautiful corner of his house set aside for his medals. He also has an electronic board with the words: “Practice with will, high discipline and a reasonable diet will make you successful.”
He only started competitive running in 2020 – for that he focused on daily walks and short runs for exercise.
“I participated in my first race in Quy Nhơn City in 2020 and I finished the 21km race with a time of 2: hours 30 minutes. After that, I ran another tournament in HCM City and shortened the achievement to 2 hours 20 minutes,” Phúc said.
“I am very excited to run in the upcoming marathon event. I have recovered from my injury. I hope I can finish the race as I want. I am anxious to meet my friends who participated in the tournament last year. I am very happy to have new friends with the same passion of running to live a long, happy and healthy life.”
This year’s marathon event will be held in Côn Đảo at the weekend with the participation of more than 3,700 athletes, including 3,500 amateurs and 200 professionals.
Runners will compete in four distances including 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km. The 5km distance is only for professional athletes.
The event’s total prize value is VNĐ500 million (US$21,700), among the highest for runnings in Việt Nam today.
Encouraging everyone to train
Phúc’s training creates encouragement and calls for everyone in the province to join in running.
“I am the motivation for my children, siblings and young people to practice. I often tell them that if I run 42km, everyone else can run 42km, too.”
“I tell them not to brag, but to encourage everyone to be healthy.”
Phúc continuously finds more and more joy in running as his hobby spreads positivity and helps him stay strong.
“I have had cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases, so I decided to start running to keep fit. Regular exercise helps get rid of diseases and love life more.” VNS