HCMC Run 2017: Start the New Year Off on the Right Foot in Ho Chi Minh City
Choose to greet 2017 from your living room—or head for Vietnam where the HCMC Run on 15th January starts your new year off with a bang!
If all you want out of your New Year’s Eve celebration is a bottle of bubbly and the company of a few close friends, stop reading, because we’re inviting you to launch your year of running challenges by registering for the HCMC Run supported by Ho Chi Minh City’s Athletic Federation.
Why sign on for the 15th January 2017 event? Because you’ve a hunger to see other lands and why wouldn’t you want to launch the year ahead by doing what you love?
The City Marathon has deep roots: it was first staged in 1992 when organisers played host to 250 American and Vietnamese veterans who came together in the spirit of post-conflict brotherhood.
While the original event lasted just four years, it was resurrected in 2013, and while that first HCMC Run event was all about healing post-war wounds, today’s version attracts people from all walks of life who believe that peace is the only answer to world conflict.
About the HCMC Run
The Ho Chi Minh City Run is typical of marathons held throughout the Pacific Rim: competitors choose from a 5km, 10km, 21km and the granddaddy of all distances, the 42km, but that's where this race assumes its own personality.
Participants take a scenic route that skims Crescent Lake, traverses the Phu My Bridge and treats runners to spectacular scenery from flag off to finish line.
The highest point of the Phu My Bridge is so spectacular, it's hard to keep going when all you want to do is stop and take in the view.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City early enough for Warm Up Day on 14th January. This community event welcomes everyone from international running legends to local families eager to begin their marathon experience early at Crescent Plaza (105 Ton Dat Tien; Phu My Hung; District 7) where activities kick off at 9 a.m.
Pick up your race kit any time during the day, and if you’ve brought the kids or you’re just eager for some heartwarming action, don’t miss Kid’s Dash activities from 8:30 a.m. to the award ceremony around 10 a.m. Participate in the “warm-up” to get loose and prepare your body for the following day.
If this is your first time in Vietnam, make it easy on yourself by using your favourite website or travel agent to make air fare and accommodation arrangements in accordance with your window of time, budget and proximity to activities staged throughout the area.
Online registration is open right now and organisers are eager to help you make your plans. Head here to put your arrangements into motion so you get the best possible early booking.
Talk a friend into running with you and share lodging expenses to make your participation more affordable.
Once you’re in Ho Chi Minh City, you won’t have a problem getting around because taxis and public transportation options are diverse, and if you need help navigating, rely upon your lodging hosts for recommendations, transport and other assistance you require during your HCMC Run experience.
Formal tour or DIY? That is the question
HCMC organisers know a thing or two about welcoming visitors, so plan on some extra days in Ho Chi Minh City to see the sights.
Expose you to an eclectic variety of sights, sounds, tastes and cultural aspects of this magical city.
Not one to follow the herd? Set out on your own adventure by putting these off-the-beaten-track experiences on your Ho Chi Minh City sightseeing itinerary:
Take high tea atop the 53-story Bitexco Tower.
It’s the highest building in the city and tea is served at multiple locations within the tower, so let your budget determine where you sip: the 49th floor Skydeck or 50th floor Strata (the second is cheaper!).
Shop Ben Thanh Market.
Snap a selfie with the city’s iconic clock tower in the background. Pick up everything from clothing to souvenirs. What do frequent shoppers recommend buying here? Buddha statues, betel nuts and wedding dresses! We didn’t make that up.
Eat your way through Vietnam’s world-class cuisines.
Take your appetite to Nha Hang Ngon, the city’s street food Mecca. Stalls are architectural throwbacks from Vietnam’s French occupation, but the food is pure Vietnamese and ranges from Bun Cha to lacy crepes stuffed with meats and seafood. Foodies recommend looking for “banh xeo” signs on vendor’s carts for the most authentic dish of all.
Take a Ho Chi Minh City Free Tour.
Led by university students hoping to expand their language skills. These treks take about half a day. Ask your hotel concierge how to hook up with one of these guides and if you like what you saw, remember that these volunteers aren’t paid, so a tip is an appropriate way to thank them.
The Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
It’s cheap. It’s expansive (12 hectares of acreage just five minutes from the city centre). Ask when the zookeeper plans to take the elephants out for a stroll!
Birds Singing at the Tao Dan Park.
If you prefer your creatures smaller than pachyderms, make an early visit to Tao Dan Park (no later than 9 a.m.) where a massive gathering of songbird owners attracts tourists. On a typical morning, you might discover 100 cages filled with warblers.
Visit the Saigon Opera House.
They still call it the Saigon Opera House, but you’ll call it charming when you take in the interior of this 400-seat theatre built in 1897. Opera isn’t the only music genre resounding throughout this luxe venue, so check the opera house’s schedule to see what’s playing during your time in country.
If you decide to run the HCMC, what’s the one experience you would add to your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary that’s not on our list?