Time to make good on your commitment to explore a land that’s not on your usual list of inspired destination picks. The nation? Vietnam. The city? DaNang — named by “Forbes” magazine as one of just a half dozen beach-focused locations that are so picturesque, this region regularly leaves visitors feeling inspired and impressed.

Of course, you’re not just going to wander aimlessly along that endless, 30km stretch of beach that captures headlines and causes travel writers to become enthralled.

And you’re not going to watch residents and tourists fish, water-ski, dive or yacht, either, because you’ll be the tourist who indulges in these fun activities — right after you take part in the 5th edition of the Manulife DaNang International Marathon 2017, that is!

Show up on 6th August at BienDong Park at 4 a.m. and the city will be revealed to you as the sun rises on the exciting DaNang International Marathon. What beats knocking off two birds with one stone? Nothing.

Registering to run the Manulife DaNang International Marathon 2017 is your passport to a magical, neighbouring land where Vietnamese runners welcome their compatriots with open arms because running has become Vietnam’s trendiest physical pastime. Bring along your imagination when you come because the cultural sites awaiting you have no equal.

10 compelling reasons to run the Manulife DaNang International Marathon 2017

  1. It’s easy to get here because Vietnam isn’t far from Singapore. There are direct flights, but why ever would you stop at one new place when you could arrange your itinerary to take in a second exotic land?
  2. Vietnam loves marathon runners so much, you’ll feel like your visit is a homecoming of sorts. Meet new people and share your passion for running during events that surround the race itself.
  3. Choose from four distances to achieve your next personal best: a full- or half-marathon or participate in either the 10km or 5km fun run if you’re not quite ready for those longer distances.
  4. Take part in a run that’s the first Vietnam event certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.
  5. Whichever route you choose, expect to be spellbound by landscapes that range from coastline to distant mountains that form a stunning panorama. Sunrise over the Han River alone could stop you in your tracks as you cross the bridge that spans the city.
  6. Add a beautiful grouping of race memorabilia to your collection if you run the full- or half-marathon that include a finisher medal and t-shirt commemorating your first Vietnam competition.
  7. Strive to be one of three top finishers in each category (except the 5km) and you could win prizes in the male or female categories.
  8. Immerse yourself in all of the race’s events, including the 5th August family day at Bien Dong Park where race kit collection and fun activities are held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stay for the 5:30 p.m. race briefing and the 6 p.m. carb load dinner followed by entertainment, all of which ends in time to get you to be early.
  9. Enjoy running in a city that offers the most amenable environment you may ever have encountered, thanks to low pollution counts and stringent traffic restrictions that keep runners safe and on the move.
  10. Take part in the 5km event staged to support a worthwhile charity (to be announced) so your visit to DaNang even benefits others who aren’t as fortunate as you.

10 compelling reasons to extend your Vietnam stay

  1. Discover the fascinating cultural sites that are found everywhere throughout the city of DaNang. Take lots of selfies to send home. Be prepared make all of your friends and family members jealous!
  2. Explore the Son Tra mountain that stretches 693m above sea level, located just 10km from the city centre. This peak was called the Monkey Mountain by U.S. military members during wartime on Vietnam soil.
  3. See the Marble Mountains where Ba Na Hill, a mountain resort, awaits — just as long as you’ve no aversion to heights, because you’ll be required to travel by cable car to get to the top! While you’re there, check out Vietnam’s first and only wax museum.
  4. Walk around Hoi An, an ancient town that seems lost in time. This UNESCO World Heritage site is 30km from DaNang but this stop is well worth your time and effort.
  5. Make a pilgrimage to DaNang’s most popular landmark: Lady Buddha, or go for the real deal at Phap Lam Pagoda where giant Buddha statues in the courtyard hint at the imposing gold Buddha inside.
  6. Prepare to be rendered speechless at Ngu Hahn Son, mountainous caves that are so dramatically tall, ceilings may be difficult to spot.
  7. Include The Sun Wheel on your itinerary. This Ferris wheel uses the sun’s cycle to power the turbines that move this gigantic structure by day and by night.
  8. Use a pedicab to take in the Da Nang Museum, DaNang Museum of Cham Sculpture dating back to AD 192, and the improbably-named Chicken Church, officially DaNang Cathedral.
  9. Bring a bathing suit and immerse yourself in Phu Thanh Hoa’s hot thermal springs where you can do nothing but enjoy the waters or take your chances playing around the game slide and waterfall.
  10. No trip to Vietnam would be complete without an ideological stop at an important part of this nation’s past: The Ho Chi Minh Museum. This isn’t your ordinary stop because in addition to cultural relics you’ll also spot caches of U.S., Soviet and Chinese weapons that are reminders of the importance of peace now and into the future.

How often do you use your love of running and competition as an excuse to visit other countries? What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to compete and see new destinations?

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Nathan Lin

Nathaniel is a certified personal trainer from Hong Kong and holds a master’s degree in psychology and exercise physiology. As a columnist for RunSociety, he aims to provide the readers with the information they need to make educated and informed health and fitness decisions, yet often adding in his funny observations.

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