The course record will be the goal in the men’s race of the Vienna City Marathon on 15th April. Organisers of Austria’s biggest sporting event, who had recently signed superstars Haile Gebrselassie and Paula Radcliffe for a unique chase race in the half marathon, have now announced a first set of names for their main event, the Vienna City Marathon.
Both the defending champions, John Kiprotich (Kenya) and Fate Tola (Ethiopia), will be returning to the Austrian capital as will four more former champions of the race. The Vienna City Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Race.
While the half marathon with Haile and Paula carries the title ,OMV Champions Race’ the competition over the full distance will turn out to be a true champions’ race as well. Defending champion John Kiprotich will not be the fastest in the field on 15th April, but the 23 year-old is determined to add another Vienna victory.
In 2011 he had caused a major surprise by beating the experienced Patrick Ivuti (Kenya) and improving his personal best by more than seven minutes! Clocking 2:08:29 last year he was less than a minute away from the course record of 2:07:38, which was established by the current World Champion Abel Kirui in 2008.
Kiprotich then further improved to 2:07:08 in Amsterdam in 2011. He has recently shown some promising form, when he was fourth in the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon in February with 60:02 minutes.
The fastest in the field so far is Gilbert Kirwa. Running his debut at the distance the Kenyan took the Vienna City Marathon in 2009 with 2:08:21.
He then went on to improve to an impressive 2:06:14, when he won the Frankfurt Marathon in the same year. Originally Gilbert Kirwa had been signed by the Tokyo Marathon to run against Haile Gebrselassie in February. But the Kenyan was not fully fit in time for the race in Japan and then opted for Vienna.
Luke Kibet is another major name in marathon running, who had originally been successful in Vienna and then went on to win big in the same year. It was in 2007 when the Kenyan took the race in Austria, clocking 2:10:07 in warm weather conditions.
With this performance he earned a place in Kenya’s World Championships’ team. And in Osaka he then produced a sensation, when he ran away in the tremendously hot and humid conditions and won the gold medal.
Another Kenyan, Henry Sugut, is the fourth runner in the men’s race, who has won the Vienna City Marathon in the past. He triumphed in 2010 with 2:08:40. A year ago Sugut improved to 2:08:22 in Paris.
In the women’s race the defending champion will most probably return as the big favourite. A year ago it was a surprise that Fate Tola took the honours, beating the likes of Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal) and Peninah Arusei (Kenya).
This time no-one will underestimate the tiny Ethiopian, who lives in Germany. The 24 year-old could well attack her personal best of 2:26:21, which she had established in Vienna last year, once again. Currently Fate Tola trains together with German marathon star Irina Mikitenko in Albuquerque (USA).
The Ethiopian will be up against a very experienced marathon runner and one of the most successful in the history of the Vienna event: Luminita Talpos (Romania) has won the race in 2007 and in 2008 again, when she clocked her personal best of 2:26:43. Additionally Talpos had taken fourth place two years ago in Vienna.