■ Ofelia C. Empian
Elite trail runner Vinson Ramos of the homegrown Itogon Runners brought home the silver medal in the 21-kilometer event of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon 2023 on Sept. 23.
Ramos clocked in at two hours, 21 minutes, and six seconds, as he conquered the event in the picturesque mountains of Sa Pa in the province of Lao Cai.
He followed United Kingdom’s Finn Lydon with a time of 2:13:22 on first place while Poland’s Filip Janczak took the third spot at 2:27:06.
Fellow Filipino trail runners completed the 50-km. podium led by John Ray Onifa at 5:06:27 followed by Philippines-based Danish runner Kristian Joergensen at 5:09:38 and Godwin Mirar at 5:17:38 for the second and third spots, respectively.
Ramos, who proved he can also do long distance races, thanked those who supported him during the event which marked the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon (VMM) participated by 1,296 runners from all over the world.
“Malaking tulong ang mga binigay ninyo para makapaglaro ako sa event na pinapangarap ko,” Ramos said in his Facebook post.
The VMM, established in 2016, is an ultra-trail running event with a starting elevation of 700 meters and high point of 1,500 meters featuring 90 percent of unpaved trails.
The 25-year-old has been a regular podium hitter, especially in short distance races since 2015. He recently ruled the 12-km. during the Philippine Trail Running Association national championships in Bontoc, Mountain Province. In 2018, he topped the 10-vertical kilometer in the Akyathlon.
Ramos is a member of the Itogon Runners, a group of athletes from the different barangays of Itogon, Benguet together with Philippine Trail Running Association’s Gretchen Felipe who recently represented the country in the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Austria, where the Philippine team was hailed as the best trail running team in Asia for their performance.