Haile Gebrselassie goes for a Vienna hat trick. One of the greatest athletes of all times will come back to the Austrian capital and compete in the half marathon, which will be staged parallel to the Vienna City Marathon on 14th April.
The 39 year-old Ethiopian has won the OMV Champions Race in the past two years and now intends to add a third win plus possibly attack his own course record.
The marathon and the half marathon, which are the two main events, have already reached the respective entry limits but organisers are looking to expand the capacity to make some more places available.
Adding other races organisers expect a record total of more than 36,000 runners to compete on 14th April. The Vienna City Marathon, which will see its 30th edition, is an IAAF Gold Label Race.
“We could not have hoped for a better ambassador for our jubilee race than Haile Gebrselassie. He loves Vienna’s spectators – and I believe the same applies the other way round. Haile Gebrselassie still is the most thrilling personality in running worldwide. We are very proud that he again chose to run in Vienna,” said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad.
There are only very few road races in the world, where Haile Gebrselassie has competed three times in a row. Besides Vienna the marathons of Berlin and Dubai plus the Manchester 10 k race are among them.
The two-time Olympic 10,000 m champion had come to Vienna for the first time in 2011. He then established the present half marathon course record of 60:18.
A year ago Haile Gebrselassie competed again in the OMV Half Marathon. This time he ran a chase race against Britain’s world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, who had been given a head-start of several minutes. Since Radcliffe had not been fully fit she was overtaken by Gebrselassie relatively early.
The Ethiopian clocked 60:52 minutes at his second victory in Vienna. Other competitors for this year’s race will be announced at a later stage.