Sunday’s 23rd edition of the Vienna City Marathon could provide a hot race. Not too hot in terms of the weather but regarding competition. A chase for the men’s course record appears to be likely when a strong group of Kenyan runners meet one of Europe’s best marathon runners from the Ukraine: Dimitri Baranovsky. In contrast the women’s race could become a Japanese affair for the first time in the history of the event. More than 22,000 runners will participate in various races on Sunday, making the Vienna City Marathon once more the biggest one day sporting event of Austria.
More runners than last year
“We are very happy to have more runners than last year. And it would be great to see a new course record”, race director Wolfgang Konrad said. While last year a course record was out of reach due to very warm weather conditions in the second part of the race this year the forecasts are again fine – but less warm with temperatures around 16° Celsius. “My main aim is to win. I don’t think that much about the time”, Dimitri Baranovsky said at today’s press conference. The 26 year-old had won the Fukuoka Marathon last year by improving his personal best to 2:08:29. With that time he was Europe’s number three marathon runner in 2005. If Dimitri Baranovsky wants to win Vienna he will probably have to produce a similar fast performance as in Japan last year.
"Potential to break the course record" said Milde
“I think we have the potential in this year’s race to break the course record”, elite race coordinator Mark Milde said. He will instruct pacemakers to pass half way point in 64:15 minutes on Sunday. Two years ago Samson Kandie (Kenya) had run the present course record of 2:08:35. Besides Baranovsky three more runners have personal bests that suggest that they are capable of such a time. Kenya’s Peter Chebet is seen as a pre-race favourite. And there is a strong family connection to the Vienna City Marathon. It was his brother Joseph who has won the race three years ago in 2:14:49.
“My brother told me to go to Vienna. And I am happy to be here. I have learnt a lot from him, we train together”, Peter Chebet said. Stanley Leleito (PB: 2:10:17), Elijah Yator (2:12:52) and William Todoo Rotich (2:14:50) are runners from Kenya who could produce a surprise on Sunday although their personal bests may not suggest that. Rotich has won the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon earlier in the year, clocking 60:12 minutes.
“We don’t have as many good marathon runners in Europe as Kenya has but we can still be successful. Baldini has proved it at the Olympics and Rey won in Hamburg recently while I took Fukuoka”, Dimitri Baranovsky explains. And in fact the fastest man in the field on Sunday comes from Europe as well: It is France’s Mohammed Ouaadi, who features a personal best of 2:07:55.
Japanese women go for first Vienna victory
In the women’s race Chieko Yamasaki (PB: 2:27:22) and Tomo Morimoto (2:27:46) go for a first Japanese victory in the history of the Vienna City Marathon. “My aim is to run a personal best and win the race”, Chieko Yamasaki said. “I have trained well and I also go for a personal best on Sunday”, Tomo Morimoto added. While the course record of Italy’s Maura Viceconte (2:23:47) seems to be out of reach the goal is a time of around 2:27. Besides the two Japanese Tiziana Alagia (Italy/2:27:53) and Mary Ptikany (Kenya/2:29:45) are in with a chance as well.
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