The fourth Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2016 will take place in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province on September 24-25. (

Hanoi (VNA) – The fourth Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2016, which is set to be bigger and better than ever before, will take place on September 24-25 in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province.

The event has grown to become one of the premier trail running events in the region with 1,500 people set to take part, including British Ambassador Giles Lever.

For the first time, the event includes a 100km marathon, making this the longest one-day run ever in Vietnam. The other categories are 70km, 42km, 21km and 10km.

The route passes through the land of the ethnic minority villages and the magnificent rice-terraced valleys that Sa Pa is famous for. The race gives access to parts of Sa Pa that are normally out of reach, making it extremely attractive to adventure seekers wanting to see the truly remote areas of Vietnam.

“I created this race because of my love of these mountains. I wanted to build a great race in Vietnam and share the beauty of this area with others who love the great outdoors. This year I’m very excited that some seriously adventurous runners will see even more of the area on our new 100km route,” race director Asger Koppen, who founded the race while living in the mountains near Sa Pa, said.

Lever, who will compete in the 70km race this year, said, “This will be my second Vietnam Mountain Marathon. I participated in the 42km run last year. The event is a huge physical and mental challenge. But it is also a wonderful experience because of the beauty of the mountains and valleys, the friendliness of the locals and the camaraderie among the runners.

“I think that adventure races like this do a lot to promote environmentally-sensitive tourism in Vietnam. And because the tournament is increasingly getting popular with Vietnamese runners, it’s a great event for building international friendships.”

The race, which is organised by Topas Travel and supported by Topas Ecolodge, has a strong focus on charity, with thousands of dollars donated to good causes over the last three editions. This year 20 USD from each race entry will be given to charity. Operation Smile will once again benefit from these funds, along with the local communities that live along the race route.-VNA