The tournament, which recently took place in St. Gallen, Switzerland, is considered the toughest triathlon competition (swimming, cycling, running) on the planet.

Thanh Vu had many months of arduous training and preparation for this event. This year's tournament attracted 23 athletes from all over the world, with only four women. The small number reflects the harshness and great challenge at SwissUltra 2022.

Thanh Vu's first challenge was 38km swimming in a 50m long pool, equivalent to 760 turns. She swam day and night for 22 hours 14 minutes 17 seconds. She spent 1 hour 51 minutes 24 seconds to take a nap for recovery.

The next challenge was cycling, with a total distance of 1,800km. Riding alone on such a long journey is not an easy challenge, but Thanh Vu also had to fight the cold and dense fog that made visibility less than 1m. She spent 179 hours 31 minutes 49 seconds (equivalent to 7.5 days) to finish the ride. 

The last challenge that Thanh Vu had was running for 422km.

After nearly 14 days of swimming, cycling and running, Thanh Vu was the first to finish in the women's category with 328 hours 27 minutes 55 seconds, followed by a 60-year-old French athlete, Mrs. Nadine Zacharias.

The Vietnamese woman proudly held the flag of Vietnam and burst into tears as the first Vietnamese to conquer the Deca-Triathlon World Championship and the first Vietnamese to win this challenge.

Loving the journey

To conquer the world's toughest competition, Thanh Vu had to follow a strict diet. She had to eat small meals while cycling and running, and could only sleep for a short time. She said: "There were many difficulties, even dangers. The only way was to enjoy the worst, and love the journey more than the destination."

"Once I experienced it, I really felt like I'm still small. I'm not a superhero at all, I'm just an ordinary person. Many people participating in this tournament hold or break world records for the distances they competed in. About 95% of the athletes attending SwissUltra 2022 are not professionals and most are middle-aged or older. When I entered the game, I understood that the human will is strong and I think anyone can do it if there is enough determination," Thanh Vu said.

“My biggest motivation is the desire to become the best version of myself. I want to convey the message that nothing is impossible, so that every young person has the courage to step forward. I hope from my story, Vietnamese youth can be inspired to reach further, fly higher... to become the pride of their families and the country," she said.

Thanh Vu's real name is Vu Phuong Thanh. She was born in 1990 in Hanoi. Before falling in love with athletics in 2015, Thanh Vu was a professional financial analyst. Thanh Vu has conquered the four harshest deserts in the world with a distance of 1,000km. In addition, she is also a TV host and inspires many Triathlon enthusiasts.

Some photos of Thanh Vu during the competition:

Dai Nam