“In January, I saw a route that maps a mouse on Strava, so I followed it. Then I got excited about ‘drawing’ by running,” said Dang Viet, a white-collar worker in Hanoi.
Photos of his routes have gone viral online, with many people calling him a “running artist” and “superman artist”. Viet has so far created 19 “artworks” on Strava, from the Vietnamese map to legendary turtle of Hoan Kiem Lake, the coronavirus, or a buffalo.
A turtle route created by Viet on Strava. Photo courtesy of Dang Viet.
According to the Hanoian, imagine each route prior to setting off is the most time-consuming step.
“I usually look at my running routes and others’ to find ideas. If I have an idea, I will draw the route on my smartphone. Then I use Google Maps to determines routes and distances. I then calculate the time to finish each route,” Viet explained.
On Strava, his routes are marked in orange. When finished running, he checks the application to review his new creations.
“The most difficult thing is I cannot pause for too long, because the previous routes will be deleted if I do that and I will have to start from the beginning.”
His longest “artwork” is the “Buddha Sitting Under the Bodhi Tree” and “Battle of Eagle and Snake” routes, stretching 42 – 54 kilometers. For these routes, he had to start running at 3 a.m. and finish at noon. Shorter routes can be completed by around 8:30 a.m.
The runner maintained these routes inspire him to run and work out, and explore the capital. Many members of the runner community in Hanoi have also been inspired by Viet, who is willing to share his routes so others could follow in his tracks.
Viet is planning to “draw” a flying pigeon and Khue Van Cac (a pavilion of the constellation of literature) in Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), which is the symbol of Hanoi.
The trend of “drawing” by running has become popular in Vietnam in the past few years. Previously, Nguyen Ngoc Tien, another Hanoi-based runner, gained attention by drawing Khue Van Cac, boats and ancient Egyptians by running.