Running is a rich source of content – all that motivational speaking, hitting the pain barrier, and triumphing over adversity. Runner Thế Anh has been creating content around his passion for pushing the limits since he fell in love with running in 2020. Here, ahead of the Danang MANULIFE Marathon, he tells us about his journey as a runner.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
Like the famous quote goes: “I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.” It was like that for Thế Anh. Although he started running in earnest in 2019, it was the pandemic that turned him into a devout runner, just to relieve the monotony of lockdown. “That’s when it really became an indispensable part of my life,” he remembers.
Before that, running was just some light, opening cardio Thế Anh would do at the gym, or, occasionally, around Công Viên Gia Định – Gia Dinh Park. A run of two or three kilometers was usually the limit of his exertion.
The Positive Side Of Peer Pressure
Then, in 2020, a friend pressured him into participating in a race in Ho Chi Minh City – just the accessible 5KM distance. “And then, perhaps because it was a race, and there was some competitiveness, I finished in under 25 minutes – which completely surprised me.”
And with that, he got to wondering what he could achieve if he really set his mind to it. “Like, could I do more than that? And if so, how much more?”
It was around that time that the government announced a series of restrictions that led, eventually, to a full lockdown. Running became the only outlet. “It has changed me a lot, both physically and mentally,” Thế Anh recalls.
Running Community Building – Online and Offline
To his growing passion for running, Thế Anh has added his love of making content. It’s enabled him to build a far bigger community than by engaging with his running mates. He posts moments and milestones to his 640K followers on TikTok, and to YouTube or Facebook.
And all that online activity had the byproduct of increasing his community offline, where he’d meet people who wanted to join his activities too. “I like how running quickly became this common language I could share with complete strangers,” he smiles.
Four Hours Of Torture
All this joy and community building, he reminds us, shouldn’t serve to obscure some of the pain running entails. Like when he attempted his first marathon and “its four hours of torture.”
“I think it was at the 22KM mark that things became really bad,” he shakes his head. “My body was exhausted and I felt something wrong with my knee. And, added to that, the weather had become blazing hot.” He stopped five times, but somehow continued reluctantly on to finish the race.
“It’s not just me, I know many other runners who endure chronic pain. One way I try to overcome it is to apply some muscle relief spray at the medical stations I pass. And when things get too severe? I will stop to rest for a while, and then pick up where I left off.”
He employs three ways to convince himself (and his tired body) to continue on. “First, unleash a positive voice in your head and encourage it to encourage you. And focus only on that – shutting out the pain. Next, think about why you’re doing this, why it’s important to you, and what it will feel like once you’ve finished. And finally, and importantly, do listen to your body sometimes, and move when you’re sure you’re up to it.”
Thế Anh should know. It took him six months to recover from that first marathon. But, he says, he spent the time constructively, reading books about running, recharging his energy and planning his next goals.
Despite all that, Thế Anh says the elation at reaching the finish line makes it all worthwhile. “It’s just such an amazing feeling,” he beams.
“I only compare myself to how I was yesterday.”
We wonder if there have been any inspirational figures along the way, who have pushed Thế Anh to greater heights. “Some, of course, but the way I look at it is the only comparison I can make is to me of yesterday,” Thế Anh nods. “I’ll set personal goals. And they’ll be hard and varied – so I’m trying to achieve something new each time. Try it and see, because when you conquer yourself, you will feel happy and proud, I promise!”
Danang Manulife International Marathon 2023
For Thế Anh, next, that means participating in the Danang Manulife International Marathon 2023.
“And from there, I’ve set my time goal at 3 hours and 45 minutes, and I want to achieve it by the end of October,” he smiles. “Because in November I want to run 85KM!”
Danang Manulife 2023 International Marathon represented by Yamaha is one of the oldest and largest international cross-country running competitions in Vietnam, with a beautiful running track in the most livable city in Vietnam – Da Nang . Recharge + get ready for the race at Wink Hotel Danang Riverside or Wink Hotel Danang Center just 3 minutes from the starting point. Discover exclusive pre- and post-race offers here.