Da Nang is set to host the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in February. It is also the location for the Asian Beach Games next September. Da Nang is the right place for it, with its kilometres of uninterrupted beautiful beach.
As a way of promoting the Clipper Race, Beach Games and all-around healthy living, Da Nang hosted its first ever 2km, 5km and 10km barefoot beach race this morning. Louise and Ida were among the competitors for the 2km run. It’s the first time that the city has had a sports event of this sort and it came will all the bells and whistles.
Race organisers expected 8,000 locals and foreigners to attend. While we didn’t see any other foreigners, there were easily 8,000 runners. Here’s a panorama shot that captures most of the crowd.
Take a look at the VIP table on the left in front of the stage (you can barely see it, but it’s in front of the dancing Zumba squad). VIPs included the heads of this or that association, network, community, etc. Each had his moment of recognition and applause before the race.
This is the first time I’ve noticed drones at a public event like a race. Take a look at the top of this shot.
Our athletes stood out not only for their fitness but also due to the fact that they could have been the only foreign competitors. At the end of the race the local TV crew tracked them down for an interview.
During the race spectators could enjoy the sunrise and the beach.
And here are our athletes, with their cheering squad, post race.
Here Be Dragons
If you look at a map of Da Nang you’ll notice that the beach area is separated from the mainland (and the rest of Da Nang) by the Han River. There are four bridges that cross the river, connecting the beach to the city. The Dragon Bridge is one of these, completed in 2013 at a cost of $90m (the picture below is not mine).
Fortunately for us, the mayor who oversaw the construction project included fire-breathing and water-spouting features in the bridge design. At 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays, the police stop traffic on the bridge while it activates those features. Our family went to take a look last night (on Louise’s birthday). There was a huge crowd- there always is- and it’s mostly locals. It was a great sight, super gimmicky but absolutely worthwhile. Needless to say, the mayor is incredibly popular.