Running through Vietnam to promote reading culture
VietNamNet Bridge – A Vietnamese information technology (IT) engineer has finished a long arduous trans-Vietnam journey, running more than 1,700km from north to south in less than 35 days to instil reading culture in young people.
Le Tien Dung, 25, says that the journey was a most memorable one, which provided him a unique opportunity to explore the country and help universities build book clubs, before embarking on a study programme abroad next year.
Dung recalls that he initially tried to find someone to accompany him on the long run which began in Hanoi and ended in Ho Chi Minh City but there was a general lack of interest because it was a non-sponsored event.
Finally, after many discussions, Nam- one of his close friends - agreed to accompany him. Nam, a university graduate, was responsible for carrying belongings, locating accommodations, purchasing food, and encouraging Dung throughout the journey.
Both paid for the costs of the trip from their personal savings and in total spent approximately VND30 million.
To prepare for the long run, Dung decided to quit his job at the bank and trained for two months. Every day, he woke up early and ran 15-20 times around his residential quarter.
He set off on his long marathon journey through Vietnam at Hanoi’s Dong Da Hill on May 11.
In the initial days, he ran 8 hours per day, from 05.00 to 08.00 in the morning, and from 07.00 to 10.00 in the evening. After getting used to this routine, he woke up at 04.00am and ran for approximately 12 hours, covering 50-70km per day.
He reveals that actual running was completely different from running in place. At the end of each exhaustive day, he used two different kinds of water to massage his sore and aching feet.
During the Trans-Vietnam tour, Dung visited four universities, meeting with students, talking about books, and helping them build bookshelves and book clubs.
Recalling the gruelling challenge, Dung says that he will never forget the night a high fever forced him to seek medical care at a hospital in Nghe An province in central Vietnam.
"It was a most depressing moment. I lost confidence and wondered why I did this. However, I overcame the bad mood thanks to Nam’s consolation. When I calmed down, I thought I can get through this”, Dung says.
There were a number of difficulties that Dung and Nam experienced on their way, including sleeping overnight at an internet pub in Hue City, and getting involved in an accident in Binh Thuan province.
Dung says he will forever be indebted for the support he received from friends and even strangers he met along the way. They gave him sun protective clothing, water, and even food.
Dung had not informed his parents about the journey until after his little brother spilled the beans about the adventure.
“I was very surprised upon seeing my son’s photos and comments on Facebook. But when I saw him still in good health, I was happy for him. I usually phoned him to encourage and let him know he can do it,” says Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, Dung’s mother.
The young IT engineer arrived in HCM City on June 15, concluding his 35-day Trans-Vietnam journey.
On his Facebook, Dung wrote he was excited about the trip at the beginning, felt desperately lonely in the central region, got moved by friends’ consolations, resolved to run the last kilometres, was overjoyed when touching the Independence Palace’s gate, and felt unhappy when returning to a normal life.