JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Vietnamese-born American septuagenarian runs over 130 marathons worldwide

Vietnamese-born American septuagenarian runs over 130 marathons worldwide

Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 10:40 GMT+7
Vietnamese-born American septuagenarian runs over 130 marathons worldwide
Vietnamese-born American Chau Smith has run more than 130 marathons worldwide. Photo: Supplied

Chau Smith, a 77-year-old American of Vietnamese origin, has made a name for herself in the global marathon community by competing in over 130 running races held on seven continents.

Marathoners admire and respect Chau for her will, passion, and determination.

She first took part in a marathon with a distance of over 42 kilometers when she was 46 years old.

Thirty one years later, the woman has become renowned for running marathons all over the world.

Chau is one of a few marathoners worldwide to complete running races in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.

In 2017, her images spread on global social media after she succeeded in conquering a challenging adventure in which she ran seven marathons on all seven continents in seven consecutive days. This challenge was called the Triple 7 Quest.

During the Triple 7 Quest trip, runners like Chau were required to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Every 24 hours, the participants spend time moving from one continent to another, having meals, taking a rest, and taking care of any hygiene requirements, as well as completing the race.

The Triple 7 Quest was an extremely physical undertaking for even young people, but Chau, when she was 70, completed the trip.

Until now, the 77-year-old woman has run more than 130 marathons worldwide.

Chau Smith shows her collection of medals at marathon events on seven continents. Photo: Supplied

Chau Smith shows her collection of medals at marathon events on seven continents. Photo: Supplied

Turning passion for marathons into an asset

Her husband, whose name is Michael Smith, is also a marathon enthusiast. The American man, who is four years older than her, was her source of inspiration for marathons.

Injuries on his legs have stopped him from running over the past few years. Instead, he and his wife have been touring the world, and he watches her compete in marathons. 

Most people are saving up to buy a new house, car, and luxurious items, but Chau and her husband see good health and trips to new lands and passion for marathons as their assets.

This life including all three is worth it, according to the duo.

The couple are still driving an old car.

Chau told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that she prefers running to driving, so she ignored her friends’ advice about purchasing a new car.

In the United States, she often jogs to the market.

Chau also shared that she and her husband decided to sell their large house and buy a smaller one to spend money on their passion for running around the world. 

“Many people asked me why I had enough money for marathons. Yet, in fact, we worked hard and saved up to pursue our passion," she said.

“When traveling to a faraway place for a race, I often eat instant noodles, drink beet juice, and wear old sports clothes."

In 2023, she reached a milestone by securing coveted medals from all six world marathons, also known as the six World Marathon Majors, following the successful completion of the Tokyo Marathon.

The devoted woman finished the Chicago Marathon in 2008, the Boston Marathon in 2013, the New York City Marathon in 2018, the London Marathon in 2021, the Berlin Marathon in 2022, and the Tokyo Marathon in 2023.

“At the Tokyo Marathon, I did not dare to be careless. I didn't even go to the toilet due to the limited time,” she emotionally recalled.

“Only after I ran for 30 kilometers did I breathe a sigh of relief."

Chau Smith is seen running a marathon. Photo: Supplied

Chau Smith is seen running a marathon. Photo: Supplied

Loving Vietnam and returning for marathons

After finishing a running race in the Philippines in late November last year, Chau traveled to Thailand for the Bangkok Marathon in early December in 2023.

One week later, she returned to Vietnam with her husband to compete in the Ho Chi Minh City International Marathon.

“I wanted to visit my homeland in Cu Chi District in Ho Chi Minh City and run the marathon," she said.

“It was extremely hot in the southern city in December, so I utilized ice to cool me during the race."

She also expressed her pleasure to be admired by many runners at the marathon.

Chau revealed that her husband loves Vietnam. He likes the emotionally-connected life among neighbors in her homeland.

“My husband loves multiple Vietnamese dishes, especially pho [a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles],” she shared.

Chau Smith runs a marathon in Sa Pa, a resort town in northern Lao Cai Province. Photo: Nguyen Dat / Tuoi Tre

Chau Smith runs a marathon in Sa Pa, a resort town in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Dat / Tuoi Tre

Seamstress and her love for marathons

Chau Smith, whose full name is Tran Thi Chau, came to the United States, with her two children and her first husband, in 1972.

After her divorce, she met and then married Michael Smith in 1982. The couple live in Kansas City, Missouri.

She opened an alteration and dry-cleaning store before later retiring. When she was young, she worked hard from morning until night.

She ran early in the morning or late at night with her husband every day.

Running makes her and her husband feel better and keep healthy.

Chau has run marathons in all 50 states in America, while in Vietnam, she competed in marathons in Ho Chi Minh City, Sa Pa, a resort town in northern Lao Cai Province, and Moc Chau Town in the northern mountainous province of Son La.

The 77-year-old is still healthy and needs no supporting medicine.

She does yoga for 30-45 minutes a day, starting at 6:00 am.

Chau Smith and her husband are pictured running a marathon many years ago. Photo: Supplied

Chau Smith and her husband are pictured running a marathon many years ago. Photo: Supplied

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Tieu Bac - Nguyen Dat / Tuoi Tre News

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Latest news