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Hanoi Runner Becomes 1st Vietnamese to Complete Everest Marathon

A Hanoi native recently became the first Vietnamese national to complete the Everest Marathon in Nepal.

Tuoi Tre reports that 35-year-old Pham Duy Cuong finished 71st out of 202 runners in the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon on May 29. Cuong, who only began running 10 months ago, finished the 42-kilometer, high-altitude race in seven hours, 47 minutes and seven seconds.

The news source adds that the race is the highest and coldest trail running event in the world, taking place 5,364 meters above sea level at temperatures around -20oC.

Amazingly, Cuong only took up running last August. His lifestyle of heavy drinking had led to bouts of gout and herniated discs, leading him to make a drastic lifestyle change.

The coffee machine business owner began running around Hanoi's West Lake every day, and signed up for the Vietnam Mountain Marathon in Sapa after just a month. He has since taken part in over 10 marathons, Tuoi Tre shares, while gaining the nickname Dr. Elastic.

To train for the Everest Marathon Cuong performed specialized exercises in order to prepare his body for sub-zero temperatures and low oxygen levels. He wore a special mask which limited his oxygen intake during a marathon in Ha Giang province and the IRONMAN 70.3 in Da Nang.

Getting to the start line in Nepal required a 10-day trek, and the race began on the morning of May 29 at 5,364 meters in altitude. The finish line sat 3,440 meters above sea level.

Cuong told the newspaper, "I could feel electricity running through my veins as I crossed the finish line. I carried the national flag with me and I was filled with pride and joy after completing the race."

[Photo via Tien Phong]

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