Jungle race mixes exhilaration, camaraderie

For the third year, the Madagui Trophy jungle race organized by Viet Adventure and sponsored by Le Fruit took place February 27-28 in the highland province of Lam Dong.

Racers compete each other in the third Madagui Trophy (Photo: Courtesy of Le Fruit)

This year’s event saw the participation of 172 athletes from 20 countries who raced through the mountainous region near Cat Tien National park in a stunning primary forest currently in danger of deforestation.

The competition was an exhilarating yet extremely tough challenge in all three race categories: Adventure, Extreme and Ultra. All competitors, working in teams of two, raced through the wild, dense and road-less forest for the first part of the race.

During the second stage, racers faced long climbs on the dusty tracks of deforested slopes with scorching temperatures hitting highs of 40°C.

Competitors said the extreme terrain created a unique atmosphere and spirit during the Madagui Trophy. As the organizer Jean-Luc Voisin said, “There really was camaraderie among all participants and a willingness to help out. It enhanced the enjoyment and fun associated with the adventure race.”

During the awards ceremony, Viet Adventure offered an unexpected prize for “Fair Play,” presented to the athlete who showed the most sportsmanship. Singaporean Koh Kok Hua was the recipient of the award for offering his bike to a British competitor whose bike had broken, after the Singaporean was forced to drop out due to exhaustion.

This year, the Madagui Trophy held its first “Ultra” event, a tough jungle race with a night departure, passing through hostile and mountainous terrain. The course placed demand not only on the athletes’ bodies but also on their character and determination.

After more than seven hours of mountain biking, climbing, jungle running, and traversing rivers in sweltering heat, Jerome Besnard and Olivier Cloez from France reached the finish line first.

Brothers David and Stephen MacCormick, meanwhile, finished first in the “Extreme” category in just over six hours. It was the brothers’ second time competing in the race.

Event organizers are utilizing the Madagui Trophy to raise money for a local environment project devoted to helping build the community and fight deforestation with social and environmental programs under a sustainable agro-forestry project lead by the WWF.

Viet Adventure says it also aims to develop sport and environmental awareness at the grassroots level by introducing new athletes to the Madagui Trophy.

This year, Viet Adventure invited two teams from Da Hoai village where the Community Cocoa Agro-Forestry Project is being developed. In their first-ever race, 16-year-old junior team K’Den and K’Hien took second place in the Adventure race with a time of 02:41.

Viet Adventure’s next racing opportunity for nature lovers is the Run & Bike Forest Challenge, taking place Saturday April 10 in the southern province of Dong Nai. For more information and registration, please visit www.vietadventure.vn

By Uyen Phuong

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