Meet Phillip Nguyen, the Man Behind Challenge Vietnam
Asiatri sat down with Phillip Nguyen, CEO of Pulse Active, the license holder for Challenge Vietnam. We talk about how his passion for triathlon prompted his run-centric events company Pulse Active to organize the first ever Challenge event in Nha Trang, Vietnam,
1. Can you tell us about the history behind Challenge Vietnam? How and why did you decided to start the race?
It was in 2013 and around that time, the sports market in Vietnam had not yet developed and there was hardly a triathlon community to speak of. Pulse Active started off by organizing a running event, HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) Run. After that, and seeing improvement in participation by the local communities, we started organizing races to other cities such as Hanoi and Danang. It was not easy but it was great to see many people getting into running.
My real passion though, has always been triathlon, and when the opportunity to talk with Challenge Family in putting up a Challenge race here in Vietnam came up, our team did not hesitate. Choosing Nha TRang as the host city is very personal to me. It is my father’s hometown and certainly one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Vietnam. We chose to go with Challenge Family races because in the years I have joined international races, I really felt that Challenge races has been synonymous with excellent organization and warm reception for the age group triathletes that make up the event.
2. What can athletes expect from the course of Challenge Vietnam?
I can honestly say that Challenge Vietnam will be one of the most scenic triathlon races in Asia. I was there a month ago for an intensive training weekend and it was magical. Going along the race course, athletes will really experience Vietnam and will be mesmerized by its landscape and its atmosphere. They will have the chance of seeing how the city wakes up and how its rhythm increases along the day. Believe me, the best way to experience the country is by swimming, biking and running it, haha.
The race has its event site located right in the middle of the town, the 2/4 Square which is situated in front of the beach. From there, athletes will swim in the waters of Nha Trang city. The warm temperature of the water was pretty pleasant so there was no need to use a wetsuit.
After swimming comes what I personally think is the best part of the racecourse, the bike leg. It is difficult to describe in words, but let me just say that it will probably become one of the most stunning bike courses athletes have ever ridden. Coastal view, with a mixture of flats, rolling inclines and declines. Just enough challenge thrown into the mix to keep your training honest.
Finally, the run will take place along the same coastal view as the bike leg. You will have the breeze of the sea air and the noise of the waves crashing against the cliffs to keep you company.
3. Other than race day, what attractions and things to do athletes and families can plan to do during the race’s weekend?
Nha Trang is the perfect place to spend your holidays whether or not you plan to race at Challenge Vietnam. It is one of the main tourist destinations in Vietnam, that’s why, there is a wide range of activities than athletes can enjoy with their families and friends.
Starting from water sports to cultural sightseeing and island hopping. Also, it’s great to just relax and recover from the race. There are plenty of beachfront luxury resorts and spas where you can just lay on the beach or enjoy spa services at affordable prices. I haven’t tried it yet, but I heard that the mud baths in Nha Trang are pretty rejuvenating. Pretty interesting stuff!
Vietnam is known for its food. There is a wide range of dishes to try. You could go order a Banh Can, one of my personal favorites, its a mini crunchy pancake that usually comes with a topping of either shrimp or pork which is super yummy and delicious. I would highly recommend to try the seafood there. As a coastal city, most of its seafood is super fresh.
Apart from that, Vietnam is full of surprises; everything from its ambience, culture, people and way of living. I can assure that the trip will be an adventure from the moment you get out of the airport.
4. How do you see the triathlon scene in Vietnam and Asia? Any other plans (and races) for the future?
As I said, triathlon is relatively a new sport for local people in Vietnam. However, I see that the market in other countries such as in Japan, Taiwan or Philippines and even Indonesia, the local participants have grown exponentially in the past few years. I believe Southeast Asia have one of the highest growth rate in terms of triathlon participation in the world; there is a very bright future for triathlon in Vietnam.
I am hoping the staging of Challenge Vietnam will bring more and more Vietnamese to take the leap into triathlon. That’s why, I would like to invite everyone from outside of Vietnam to join the race and help us show to the Vietnamese people what triathlon is really about.
Register for Challenge Vietnam HERE.
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