Wow, what an incredible week! Both for on the road experiences and donations! Thank you!!!
This week I have spent the majority of the week running through beautiful scenery with not a highway in sight. The air quality has been great and I’ve had some fabulous company along the way.
Soon after leaving Hue, I spent a couple of days navigating around Tam Giang Lagoon. It is the biggest lagoon in South East Asian, surrounded by mountains and is home to many fishing villages and hundreds of smiling, waving Vietnamese.
Access to food on this part of my journey, through central Vietnam, has become much easier. On most streets I see huge signs advertising ‘COM Binh Dan’. This is a traditional lunch option and consists of a huge pile of rice topped with a variety of different proteins and veges, chosen from a selection. A bit like a savoury pick and mix. A few days of eating well and I can feel my body responding and feeling strong again.
After coming to the end of the lagoon, I had to highway run for a couple of kms and quickly saw a huge tunnel looming in front of me. It very clearly had a sign saying no cyclists or people on foot… This meant that I would have to retrace my steps, adding at least another 10km to an already long 30km day. As people who know me well know, I love rules and the idea of breaking them worries me. However, not as much as the throught of an extra 10km of highway hell. So, after a quick look around for anyone official looking, I sprinted through the tunnel. Possibly clocking up the quickest km of the trip so far!
On successfully completing my tunnel sprint, I heading back towards the coast where I would spend the night at what appeared to be a busy, touristy bay.
Chan May Bay is stunning! However, definately not the bustling beach spot I was hoping for. Due to it being off season, I was, yet again, the only guest in the beach side hotel, luckily managing to find the one open beach restaurant. I had another huge plate of rice and loads of fresh seafood. The next morning, as I jogged along the pristine beach, I watched the locals building wooden beach huts and bars, ready for the high season. Chan May Bay is somewhere I highly recommend visiting (when it’s actually open!)
From Chan May Bay, it was a nice 18km day, alongside the beach and through pine forests, to Lang Co, which is at the foot of the Hai Van Pass (a mountain road that separates Hue and Da Nang Provinces). I was to meet Chris in Lang Co and we would tackle the pass together. Chris has been an amazing supporter of my journey and the gym he part owns, The Fitness Village, hosted a charity day for namrunsnam and it is where we begin the very start of this run. Once Chris arrived, we caught up over a great meal, in a seafood restaurant that stretched out over Lang Co lagoon. I talked about the highs and lows of my adventure so far and Chris lectured me on nutrition. Apparently chocopies are not a good food source!
The night before starting the Hai Van Pass, I didn’t sleep very well as I was nervous of the steep ascent. In reality it was by far the best day of the trip so far!
We woke early and were greeted by heavy rain and thick clouds. When I rode the Pass, with my parents, it had been terrible weather so I hoped for a clearer day this time. We waited for the bad weather to pass and then begun the climb. The clouds soon closed in again and we were battered with some pretty heavy rain. Nethertheless, spirits were high as we jogged, chatted and hiked up the steeper sections. After 13kms of up we reached the summit, soaking wet but smiling and proud.
The 13km down the Pass, flew by as we let gravity take control. The clouds began to part and the sun tried it’s best to shine on us. We were treated to some lovely views and many offers of lifts on motorbikes (which we happily declined!)
The run into Da Nang city was beautiful; palm trees, blue skies and sparkling seas. An absolute stunner of a welcome. To celebrate we jumped into a cab (after carefully pinpointing the exact spot where I had stopped running) and heading into Hoi An to meet a couple of Chris’ mates who were in town. Thanks for letting us stay!
During a rest day back in Da Nang, which included yoga, a two hour massage and lots of great Italian food, I had contacted the local expat and running groups to see if anyone wanted to join me for my run from Da Nang into Hoi An. On Sunday morning, I was greated by 3 runners and 2 cyclists- who are cycling around the world, crossing all 7 continents, for the next 7 years. After a coffee, we hit the coastal road that leads to An Bang beach, near Hoi An. After 7kms we waved goodbye to Ross and Jodi, who headed back to Da Nang, as well as Chris and Gabriella, who cycled on ahead into Hoi An. That left me and Tuan, who set off at a pretty quick pace! I spent the next 14kms chasing him to the beach. It was my quickest run this whole trip but I was really pleased that I was still able to hit a decent pace, all whilst wearing my 6kg backpack and sweating in the midday heat. (Next step, a sub 2hr half marathon) (not whilst on this trip!)
Now for a few days rest over Christmas and a quick visa run (on a bus) to Laos. I’ve kindly been invited to a Christmas Eve get together with some of the DaNang expats, so that will keep me busy and I’m hoping for a sunshine beach day on the 25th.
I will run from An Bang beach into Hoi An old town on the 28th December and will be joined by friends, Fiorella and Jude on the 29th for the run out of Hoi An.
As always, thank you so much for reading. Please share this page and tell everyone you know about the crazy girl who is running from Hanoi to HCMC.
Please donate as little or as much as you can. It truly will make a huge difference to the lives of kids and women, who need our support to help them get back on their feet.
Go on, it’s Christmas! https://namrunsnam.com/donate/
Lots of love
Naomi XXX (aka Nam)