Caroline Chepkwony chases PR in Vienna; Mai Ito wants the win

Anna Hahner, Caroline Chepkwony and Mai Ito in Vienna, PHOTO:
Anna Hahner, Caroline Chepkwony and Mai Ito in Vienna, PHOTO:

Anna Hahner, Caroline Chepkwony and Mai Ito in Vienna, PHOTO:

In times where runners from Kenya and Ethiopia tend to dominate the major marathons it rarely happens that the podium of these races features athletes from three different continents. The women’s race of the Vienna City Marathon could produce such a result on Sunday.

While Kenya’s Caroline Chepkwony and Japan’s Mai Ito are regarded favourites Germany’s Anna Hahner and Russia’s Olga Glok are potential candidates for a top three finish. Adding shorter running event, which will be staged parallel to the marathon on Sunday, organisers registered a record total of around 42,000 athletes for the 31st edition of the Vienna City Marathon. Austria’s biggest sporting event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

It was no other than last year’s women’s winner Flomena Cheyech who recommended to Caroline Chepkwony to run the Vienna City Marathon.

“We are training partners in Iten,” said the 28 year-old Kenyan, who established her personal best of 2:27:27 when she won the Ljubljana Marathon in October 2013.

“Apart from Flomena I am for example training together with Mary Keitany and Agnes Kiprop,” said Chepkwony, who hopes to improve her personal best in Vienna.

“I have won the Rome Ostia Half Marathon in March with 68:48, so I am here with a good feeling. I hope to run another personal best, may be around 2:25.”

Mai Ito also consulted a former winner of the Vienna City Marathon before she decided that this would be the race to go to. The Japanese, who holds the fastest personal record on the start list with 2:25:26, spoke to Tomo Morimoto. She won the Vienna City Marathon in 2006 and so far remains the only Japanese winner of the traditional event.

“She recommended to me to run here,” said Ito. The 29 year-old makes it clear what her goal will be on Sunday: “I want to win the race. I will not care about any records, I will only go for victory.”

Ito has already run a marathon this year. Less than two months ago she finished seventh in Tokyo with 2:28:36. “But for me Tokyo was only a training race during my preparations for Vienna,” Ito explains. “I want to compete more internationally, so I chose to come to Vienna.”

It is the first visit to Vienna for Anna Hahner as well. The 24 year-old German improved to 2:27:55 in last year’s Frankfurt Marathon.

“I am in very good shape and want to run well under 2:30 again. It would be great if I could get another personal best,” said Hahner, whose twin sister Lisa is with her in Vienna to support her. Lisa currently prepares for the Hannover Marathon on 27th April.

“I have competed in Austria twice before. I ran the Wörthersee Half Marathon and the Peuerbach New Year’s Eve race. The atmosphere at both races was great and I really enjoyed it. For me Vienna is a very attractive city, so the Vienna City Marathon was my first choice for this spring,” said Anna Hahner, who is coached by Italian Renato Canova for almost a year now.

Three other runners with personal bests of sub 2:30 will also be in contention for a podium place. After a break from competition for personal reasons in 2013 Olga Glok returns to Vienna. The 31 year-old Russian ran her last marathon here two years ago, clocking a personal best of 2:27:18 for second place. Kenya’s Alice Chelangat, who has a personal best of 2:26:36, and Marta Lema are the other two. The Ethiopian was second in Kosice last year with 2:28:02.

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