With 13 men featuring personal bests of sub 2:10 the 31st Vienna City Marathon will see its best elite field in the history of the race.
Regarding this mark the only spring marathon that surpasses Vienna will be the Boston Marathon on 21st April. Among those athletes there will be the defending champion and three time winner Henry Sugut of Kenya and Getu Feleke. With a personal best of 2:04:50 the Ethiopian is the fastest runner ever entered into the Vienna City Marathon.
Sugut is the course record holder with 2:06:58. Including shorter running event staged on Sunday organisers registered a record total of around 42,000 athletes for the 31st edition, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
A live stream of the race will be shown on www.vienna-marathon.com on Sunday. Additionally there will be English live web reporting available. The race starts at 9 am Central European Time.
For Henry Sugut Vienna is already some sort of second home. He won the race in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The 28 year-old established the present course record of 2:06:58 two years ago. This is also his personal best.
“Yes, you could say that Vienna is almost my living room,” he replied during the press conference. “It is a big motivation to have the chance to win the race for the fourth time.
“I want to make history in Austria,” said Sugut, who could become the only runner in the history of the race to achieve four victories.
“My training has gone very well and I am ready. I think I am able to break my personal best on Sunday. The weather forecast sounds ideal for me,” said Sugut.
Overcast skies and temperatures between 13 and 16 Celsius with little wind are forecasted. Sugut lives in Eldoret but he does most of his training in Kaptabet.
“Among my training partners is Geoffrey Kipsang. The fact that he won the World Half Marathon Championships recently is a good sign and a motivation for me. We help each other in training,” explained Sugut.
“For me the most diffcilut part during the race is always when the pacemakers drop out,” said Sugut. Half way pace is planned for 63:00 minutes and pacemakers are supposed to continue until the 30 k mark. “It then depends on how my body feels. If it is possible I will attack and try to run away.”
Asked about the long standing rivalry between Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners Sugut explained: “Generally we are friends. But at a certain stage during the race everone becomes an enemy. We will support each other. But from the 30 k mark onwards the fun is over!”
Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke agreed with this view. The toughest challenge for Sugut might well come from him on Sunday:
Feleke’s marathon career started in Vienna five years ago. In a unique debutants’ only race he finished seventh with 2:11:47.
“For me that was a good race for a start. I had no knowledge about the marathon before,” said Feleke, who significantly improved in the following years. In April 2012 he was second in Rotterdam with 2:04:50.
“I was not fast enough on the final two kilometres, otherwise I could have won in Rotterdam,” said Feleke, who runs up to 280 kilometres per week in training in Addis Abeba.
Coached by Getaneh Tessema among his training partners is Tsegaye Kebede, who will run in London on Sunday. A year ago Feleke took another second place in Rotterdam.
In warm weather conditions he finished with 2:06:45. He might have to run faster to take victory in Vienna on Sunday.
Main contenders for the Vienna City Marathon:
Getu Feleke ETH 2:04:50
Philip Kimutai KEN 2:06:07
Henry Sugut KEN 2:06:58
John Kiprotich KEN 2:07:08
Alfred Kering KEN 2:07:11
Moses Kigen KEN 2:07:45
Duncan Koech KEN 2:07:53
Geoffrey Ndungu KEN 2:08:35
Ryo Yamamoto JPN 2:08:44
Maswai Kiptanui KEN 2:08:53
Oleksandr Sitkovskyy UKR 2:09:14
Felix Kiprotich KEN 2:09:43
Aleksey Reunkov RUS 2:09:54
Wilfred Kirwa Kigen KEN no mark