When I first received an invitation to attend the inaugural Laguna Lang Co Triathlon in Vietnam, two words immediately came to mind: Absolutely yes! A triathlon in Vietnam? I was utterly intrigued and eager take part in the first-year race experience. The race, produced by the same experienced staff that hosts the well-known Laguna Phuket Triathlon in Thailand, takes place on April 14 in Vietnam’s Hue Province and consists of a 1.8K swim, a 62K bike and a 12K run. The event also offers relay and duathlon divisions, as well as a fun run. I’ll head to Vietnam in early April to report on all the exotic action, but prior to leaving I wanted to touch base with Roman Floesser, race director for both Laguna Lang Co and Laguna Phuket Triathlons, to learn a bit more about the event and the destination location.
Triathlete.com: What inspired you to choose Vietnam and the Laguna Lang Co resort as a triathlon destination?
Floesser: It was more the other way around. Laguna Lang Co chose the triathlon to celebrate the opening of its resort and continue the tradition of the legendary Laguna Phuket Triathlon. The objective is to put Laguna Lang Co and Central Vietnam on the tourism map and to create an event to stimulate travel to the resort.
Triathlete.com: What are some unique aspects of the race and venue that competitors can expect from the event?
Floesser: Lang Co is in close proximity to the three UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hoi An, Mai Son and Hue, which makes it a great destination for people interested in the cultural heritage of Vietnam. Nature lovers will enjoy the serene mountains in the area and the beautiful Lang Co Lake, a large saltwater lagoon that athletes will ride around on the bike part of the race.
Triathlete.com: As the race director, what are you most excited about in terms of putting on this first year event?
Floesser: The fact that we are putting on a new race in a new destination is very intriguing. We are putting another country on the global triathlon map, which will spread our great sport further.
Triathlete.com: Is there anything about producing a first-year race that makes you nervous?
Floesser: Before a first-time event you are always a bit more nervous than you are before an event that you have organized several times before. You just hope that you have planned for everything and that you are able to improvise for the things you may have not been able to plan for. Having said that, I have a very experienced event team around me to ensure that the event is a success.
Triathlete.com: You have an impressive lineup of pros headed to Vietnam, including Ironman world champion Chris McCormack, uber-biker Chris Lieto and globetrotting couple Belinda and Justin Granger. How many athletes in total do you expect at the inaugural race?
Floesser: We expect about 300 for the first year.
Triathlete.com: How has the community of Hue Province embraced the event?
Floesser: We have received great support from the authorities in Hue who are fully embracing the event and the positive promotional impact it will have on Hue Province and Vietnam as a whole. We have also received a lot of interest from local running and cycling clubs who want to take part. There are no triathlon clubs or triathletes in the area yet, but with our triathlon relay and a duathlon we are trying to introduce them to triathlon.
For more information about the Laguna Lang Co Triathlon visit Lagunalangcotriathlon.com, and be sure to tune into “Dispatch” during race week for our extensive coverage.