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Dalat Ultra Trail Race Called off After Flash Flood Kills Runner

Last weekend's Ultra Trail Dalat Marathon ended in tragedy.

VnExpress reports that a runner was swept away by a flash flood and died during the annual event on Saturday, June 20.

Heavy rain began in Dalat around 1pm on Saturday, turning a stream in Lac Duong District into a raging torrent and disrupting the race's course. According to the news source, many athletes stopped running in the face of bad weather, but a 40-year-old man attempted to cross the water and was washed away.

His body was found three hours later in Dankia Lake, about one kilometer away from where he tried to cross. The rest of the race was immediately cancelled, and all participants were brought back to the starting line in cars.

The event, the third of its kind, was organized by the Lam Dong Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and drew more than 6,000 runners. The arduous race features four categories: 21, 45, 70 and 100 kilometers. The deceased athlete was on the 70-kilometer trail.

According to a press release posted on the race's Facebook page, a shorter 10km run was also cancelled, as was the Dalat Victory Challenge, a mountain bike competition that was to be held on June 21 in the same area.

Director of the Lam Dong Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Thi Nguyen admitted to the newspaper in a separate article that the department failed to come up with a course of action for difficult weather conditions.

Previous races have mainly took place in March during the dry season, but this year's was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because of the time change in the face of enormous registration pressure, the organizers did not foresee weather risks,” she added.

“After this incident, we will be strict in licensing races in the rainy season or will not license them. For the sake of safety, apart from health issues, [we] need to also consider other in-depth safety issues."

[Photo: Runners during the 10km event of last year's Dalat Ultra Trail/Photo by Tinh Te member cuhiep]