Le Van Duong launched VietRace 365, an online running competition website, in 2018, when he was a civil servant at the HCMC People’s Procuracy
Albeit a virtual race, this type of competition still aims at results for runners. Another target, and a bigger one, is to encourage participants to practice regularly to reach the required distance. Surprisingly, Le Van Duong, the first person who introduced online running competitions into Vietnam, then did a job that had nothing to do with running.
Virtual races, real prizes
Starting to run from 2017, Le Van Duong soon realized that many people had participated in online running contests held by foreign organizations. Such exciting competitions were organized fairly well. The trouble is, after covering the required distances, runners had to wait for a long time to receive their rewards.
“Sport players don’t want to wait at all,” Duong said. “Why don’t we organize online running competitions in Vietnam?” As an enthusiastic runner, Duong was aware of the hesitation felt by first-timers to a running contest. Most of them only wished to attain the distances they had registered instead of favorable results.
“New runners also like to win a gift when participating in a competition, be it a T-shirt or a medal,” Duong said. At that time, Duong was determined to organize virtual running contests which gave real prizes to participants.
VietRace 365 website thus came into being with the help of some information technology experts because Duong had little knowledge of IT at the time. A short time after the launch of the website, Duong quit his job at the HCMC People’s Procuracy to save all the time for his website.
“It was hard for me to make such a decision,” he said. “But I’m happy with what I’ve done.”
Many online running competitions held
VietRace 365 has so far organized tens of virtual running events. It has also offered consulting services to plenty of schools, businesses and organizations so that the latter can organize internal or community online running contests. Among them are the Sacombank run which attracted some 13,000 runners, and the Vietnamese Student Association run which was joined by 3,000 students throughout the country.
All the virtual running competitions held by VietRace 365 each had an exclusive theme that was creative and associated with Vietnamese history or culture, such as “Dien Bien Phu Challenge,” “Pioneers” or “Country of Happiness—April 30.”
The theme of an event was printed on the bibs worn by runners, certificates and medals. For instance, the medal of the “Dien Bien Phu Challenge” had the image of a soldier in his military uniform.
Some VietRace 365 clients living in remote areas where running is not as popular as it is in big cities have collected certificates and hung them in their houses. This is a motive for VietRace 365 staff, said Duong.
Many things can be possible with running
Running can help boost human health. However, people sometimes run not only for themselves. Many VietRace 365’s running competitions have been supported by enterprises. At these events, for every kilometer covered by runners, sponsoring enterprises will contribute a corresponding sum of money to related charity funds.
Take “Run for Hua Na” for example. After the running contest, VietRace 365 was able to raise a fund for building a school for pupils of Hua Na Elementary School (in Thuan Chau District, Son La Province). Duong said he has run long enough to realize the huge value of running to enthusiasts and the community.
According to Duong, running is not only a way to improve health but also a positive lifestyle that can help everybody live in a healthy and affectionate manner. Running is also associated with cultural, historical and living value of each region or country. “There are many wonderful things with running,” said Duong. “Just try it and you’ll love it.”
By Thien Nhien