Six-time SEA Games champion Nguyen Van Lai is set to compete in the 21-km run at 2022 VnExpress Marathon (VM) Marvelous Nha Trang this Sunday.
“The half marathon event of VM Nha Trang this year will be more interesting than the full marathon. Nearly every elite half marathon athlete will compete in this event,” Lai said.
In April, Lai finished first in the half marathon event of VM Imperial Hue.
A veteran runner, Lai has taken part in many domestic and international races. He ruled the 5,000 m and 10,000 m events at SEA Games in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2022. VM Nha Trang is the first outdoor event for Lai following SEA Games 31 in May.
Nguyen Van Lai on the track of the 10,000 m event at SEA Games 31 in May 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
“VM Nha Trang will be tough for me, maybe even tougher than SEA Games. Of course, it’s not reasonable to compare the two tournaments since I had spent a few months preparing and training for SEA Games. Opponents at SEA Games were also more familiar,” he said.
After SEA Games 31, Lai expressed his intention to switch to marathons after retirement. He said this is a way to challenge himself. The 36-year-old wants to continue competing at SEA Games but in the marathon event instead of track and field.
“VM Nha Trang is a stepping stone for me to switch to full marathon events at the end of this year or next year. Long distances are not my strength, so I need time to adapt. The beginning will definitely be difficult,” he added.
Lai said he got an advantage because he has been training and competing for years. However, to prepare for VM Nha Trang, he still had to increase the intensity of his training.
“The race will also have other factors like the weather and the track that can affect the result. I will try my best,” Lai said.
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