Winning many major marathons in the country, but Le Quang Hoa is determined not to play professionally – his choice after many injuries.

Le Quang Hoa (bib 92444) when he was about to finish at VnExpress Hue Marathon 2020. Runner Quang Tri came first in this run with achievement of 2 hours 33 minutes 35 seconds, at the same time as his PR.  Photo: VnExpress Marathon

Le Quang Hoa (bib 92444) when he is about to finish at VnExpress Hue Marathon 2020. Runner Quang Tri finished first in this run with achievement of 2 hours 33 minutes 35 seconds, as well as his personal record. Image: VnExpress Marathon

“I will not follow the professional path,” Quang Hoa told her mother in a decisive voice during the knee injury recovery training days in 2016. At that time, at the age of 19, the running legs of Quang Tri people saw the road. You need to go for the future.

Quang Hoa was born in the heart-shaped land on the map of Quang Tri province – Trieu Trung commune is tilted towards the sea and is a rare plain of Trieu Phong district. There, he spent the days with his friends going to school and discovered his talent in athletics.

Right from middle school, the gym teacher has noticed the qualities of Quang Hoa with running. The teacher not only fosters, but also finds students opportunities to participate in sports festivals between schools at the commune level. The boy over 10 years old then quickly ranked first and had the opportunity to go further with the Trieu Phong district awards.

Quang Hoa’s successful path seems favorable. He continued to be sent to the provincial exam. From here, Quang Hoa “caught the eye” of the teachers of the Center for Sports Training and Competition in Quang Tri province. Join the gifted team of the province on May 20, 2012, at the age of 15.

Quang Hoa’s life at that time had only one goal: practice for competition. In 2013, the 16-year-old boy started being rubbed outside the province. At the Viet Nam Tien Phong newspaper in 2013, Quang Hoa won the silver medal for 7km. In 2014, as a member of the Vietnam Young Athletics Team, he won two gold medals of 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters over obstacles at the Southeast Asian Student Championship. The peak came in 2016, Quang Hoa wore a Vietnamese youth shirt, won a bronze medal with a distance of 3,000m overcoming obstacles at the Asian Young Athletics Championship.

The career path with Le Quang Hoa seems to be wide open, with the orientation of becoming a professional athlete. But one incident in 2016 changed everything.

Severe injury in 2016 helped Quang Hoa have time to think and choose a path for the future.  Photo: Facebook Character

Severe injury in 2016 helped Quang Hoa have time to think and choose a path for the future. Image: Facebook Character

Another direction for the future

Overloaded in training, Quang Hoa continuously injured in 2016. At the beginning of the year, the pain in his back caused him to be interrupted, he could only practice gentle recovery exercises. Next, Quang Tri boy suffered a more serious injury, torn meniscus, so he had to operate a knee surgery to remove the torn cartilage. This is when Quang Hoa thought he would never be able to run and return to the track with his teammates.

When there was time to stop after years being swept up in the whirlwind of practice – competition, Quang Hoa saw more clearly his own direction. Half a year of treatment and knee rehabilitation, with the support of his mother, running leg born in 1997, also confided to her about her concerns.

Growing up in difficult circumstances, outside school hours, Quang Hoa had to go to the fields to transplant to help his parents. Even while training in the provincial team, he still studied the full-time culture. The target of the entrance exam to the Police Academy, Quang Hoa chose to study in grade A. But because of his passion for sports, when he graduated high school, he did not take the college entrance exam but chose Da Nang to train at the national young athletic team. . Before having a serious injury on the operating table, Quang Hoa’s biggest concern was following the peak sports career, or just seeing it as a left hand job.

Around the world, hundreds of Kenyan athletes consider athletics to be the fastest way out of poverty. But in Vietnam, sports in general and jogging in particular are still a less fertile land, difficult to stick with a career for life. And like thousands of other talented athletes, Quang Hoa has talent, has the opportunity to develop, but still wonders between choosing to become a professional athlete, or seeing running as a game.

Knee surgery is when Quang Hoa made the choice and encouraged and supported by his mother. His specific action immediately followed that he focused on reviewing and passing the entrance exam to Danang University of Architecture at the 2017 university entrance exam.

“Sports give me a lot of things from health, income, maintaining a love of running …, but it’s just passion. I want to have a real career with a different career. I will graduate with an excellent degree, “Quang Hoa said VnExpress.

Quang Hoa (sitting in the right row) during a group study session at Danang Architecture University in late 2020. Photo: Facebook Character

Quang Hoa (sitting in front of the right row) during a group study session at Danang Architecture University in late 2020. Photo: Facebook Character

Following in the footsteps of Quang Tri, there are many factors for him to decide not to go towards professional sports. The athlete’s age is too short, to a certain extent will not be able to run as fast and as well as before. Injuries are also a barrier and difficult to predict. In addition, there is uncertainty in the unstable days. Therefore, a parallel path, both running and helping to develop the community, while studying for the future will help him balance.

Not giving up and persevering is the belief that Hoa brings in the process of rehabilitating practice. In his sophomore year, this running leg returned to running. This time it was a test at long distance. Quang Hoa attended the Techcombank International Marathon in December 2018. It was his first time running a marathon. As a result, Quang Hoa finished second in the group of Vietnamese athletes, with a distance of 42,195km. “It was a great start to the future dream of the marathon,” he said.

From here, the name Le Quang Hoa became familiar in movement tournaments. He is at the top of most of the participating tournaments, such as VnExpress Hue Marathon 2020 (with a record of 2 hours 33 minutes 35 seconds), VnExpress Marathon Quy Nhon 2019 (2 hours 41 minutes 57 seconds), Longbien Marathon 2019 (2 hours 36 minutes 59 seconds) … He is also one of four Vietnamese athletes qualified to attend the world’s most prestigious running tournament in the Boston Marathon 2020 in the US. But this event must then be held online because of Covid-19.

Quang Hoa, when he finished first at VnExpress Quy Nhon Marathon 2019. Photo: Duc Dong

Quang Hoa, when he finished first at VnExpress Quy Nhon Marathon 2019. Photo: Duc Dong

Balance between practice and learning

Pursuing a career in sports competition while being a student at Da Nang University of Architecture makes Quang Hoa very busy. One day, he got up at 4:30 and went to the training ground. Exercises usually last from 5am to 6:30. After that, Quang Hoa returned to bathe, ate breakfast and went to school. Leaving the school, Hoa returned to the training ground from 17:00 to 18:30. At night, this student is devoted to studying. If you have a few lessons, you will study until 11pm. But when doing big homework, the class can last until 2am.

As the class president of a Civil Engineering class, Quang Hoa also participates in the Executive Committee of the Faculty and is busy with the work of the school. Training schedule is therefore maintained from Tuesday to Sunday. One week, Hoa rested on Monday. The lesson plan is self-directed, with about 12 to 15km of running per day. On weekends with long runs, you will have to complete a distance from 25 to 30km.

As usual, Quang Hoa is still doing well with such a practice and study schedule. But on occasions when he had to travel far away to play, he accepted the impact of his schedule, even slowing down the curriculum. When attending VnExpress Quy Nhon 2019 Marathon, Quang Hoa finished the test at school on Saturday and had to move right in from Da Nang to catch the Sunday morning race. “Learning was interrupted and sometimes slow, but I tried to arrange it to pay off,” he insisted.

Five years after deciding to give up his dream of playing professionally, Quang Hoa is confident that he is on the right path. While studying and competing in professional and semi-professional tournaments, Quang Hoa has accumulated achievements and reputation, but still retains the necessary balance for life.

“I am passionate about running, it is like other challenges in my life. How difficult it is, I always try my best to overcome myself and reach the finish,” he said.

Quang Hoa represents a community jogging back to his hometown of Quang Tri to do charity work during the storm and flood in the last month of October and early November 2020.  Photo: Facebook Character

Quang Hoa represents a community jogging back to his hometown Quang Tri to do charity work during the storm and flood in the last month of October and early November 2020. Image: Facebook Character

Currently, Quang Hoa aims to help runners and enthusiasts to expand the running community in Vietnam, and from there on, develop running volunteer programs. The fourth year student also wants to find a job suitable for his major as soon as he graduates.

Thuy Lien


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