British Sports Coach Brian Mac is a race preparation expert having launched a website that helps athletes prepare for competitions. He addresses everything from race day nervousness to post-competition recovery tips that include being gracious by congratulating competitors.
In other words, his advice is invaluable—and doubly so if you intend to compete abroad. We suggest signing up for the DaNang International Marathon, scheduled to be held on 12 August 2018, to put Brian's theories and practices to work because you won't find a more welcoming environment.
You'll need to make travel arrangements, hire a cat sitter and take leave from your job, but before that, undertaking research on both Vietnam and the history of the DaNang Marathon is a must. No need to look for resources. We are happy to fill you in on what you can expect if you run here in 2018:
- DaNang International Marathon 2017: Why You Should “Hang in DaNang”, Adventurous Runners!
- The Clock’s Ticking—Time to Run DaNang’s International Marathon 2016!
- Why the August 2015 Da Nang International Marathon Belongs on Your Run Calendar!
After you've been inspired…
Even blasé competitors know that reading about the history of races that take place outside the homeland is just the beginning. Vietnam is a dramatically transformed country, but based on previous editions of the DaNang marathon, we offer more advice.
Prepare to be distracted! You can't wear blinders when running along DaNang's gorgeous coastline where vacationers and Vietnamese citizens lounge on sugar-white beaches, dive, sail, water ski and fish. Work on your concentration skills before you leave home.
Pick the race distance that's familiar—especially if you haven't raced abroad before. The Manulife DaNang International Marathon has you covered with Full- and Half-marathons, a 10km category plus a 5km Fun Run that benefits charity. When you're on home turf, it's no sweat pushing for longer distances, but think twice when competing overseas.
Expect to earn serious credibility when you tell the world that DaNang International Marathon is "the first professional Marathon in Vietnam certified by IAAF/AIMS (the International Association of Athletics Federations and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races)." Having sanctioned running events on your resume can't hurt.
Hang around! If you travel all the way to Da Nang and don't see the sites, shame on you! This nation has become one of the trendiest destinations in Southeast Asia, so you get to work on your reputation as a world traveller simply by signing up via Spacebib.
How to manage your race day
If you have a tendency to freak out when in unfamiliar territory, the best way to armour yourself is to plan for the worst, says Brian Mac. Grab your laptop or writing pad and create a list of worst-case scenarios like the following three examples:
Q: What if I arrive in Da Nang and my luggage goes elsewhere?
Ans: Don't panic. Ask organisers to point you toward the nearest mall so you can buy the items you need. In some cases, the airline in question may give you compensation cash.
Q: What if I get sick or lose something?
Ans: You're in Vietnam, not Congo! Da Nang is a thriving modern location with thoroughly modern medical facilities. Organisers will have medical staff on hand, as well as a lost and found, so ask for help and you'll get it.
Q: What if the weather turns bad and I've come all this way for nothing?
Ans: The DaNang International Marathon wouldn't be half as successful as it is every year if weather delays hadn't already been factored into the event's game plan. Your job is to go with the flow and make new friends as you wait for instructions.
If he can run this race, so can you!
Where did American Dennis Zaborac find the courage to run the DaNang International Marathon last year? It wasn't easy. About 42 years ago, he was jumping into foxholes as mortar rounds buzzed his head during his Vietnam tour of duty. Returning for the first time since the war to run the 2017 DaNang International, he felt uneasy and uncomfortable.
Queuing on the start line on race day was surreal, he recalled. By the time he hit the 5km mark, he felt invested in his run. Even when Dennis reached stages of exhaustion, he was buoyed by the cheers and smiles offered by the people of Da Nang, despite the fact that he was an American.
Somewhere between the start and finish lines, Dennis realised that everything he feared about returning to Vietnam was non-existent. He recalled one Vietnamese runner pacing him as the finish line loomed. Running side-by-side, they exchanged big grins, knowing that they shared an exalted bond forever.
"I saw no enemies. All I saw were allies in individual battles to beat the heat, the fatigue and the distance of the DaNang Marathon!"
As Dennis reluctantly prepared to return home, he noted, "I could finally leave Vietnam. There were no longer any enemies there."
What do you most look forward to if you compete in DaNang? The people? The scenery? Or is your biggest desire to bring home a victory from this amazing nation?