It was a year ago when the Vienna City Marathon was simply “Su gut!”. Henry Sugut clocked an Austrian allcomers record of 2:06:58 to win the race. Asked if the marathon had been a success the answer in Austrian dialect was simply: “Su gut!”, meaning “So good!”. When the 30th edition of the nation’s biggest and best quality road race will take place this Sunday it could even be better. Kenya’s defending champion will return to the Vienna City Marathon. In total ten runners are on the start list with personal bests of sub 2:10. Among them is Jafred Kipchumba (Kenya). With a PB of 2:05:48 he is the fastest runner ever entered into the Vienna City Marathon. The women’s field looks strong as well. Half a dozen runners have achieved times of sub 2:28 so far. Adding other events – among them a half marathon with Ethiopia’s superstar Haile Gebrselassie – a record total of 40,957 runners have entered the Vienna City Marathon, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
“When I come back to Vienna it gives me a good feeling. I feel confident, because I have won here twice. I know the race well,” said Henry Sugut in Friday’s press conference. The 27 year-old first took the Vienna City Marathon in 2010 with 2:08:40. His second marathon in 2012 did not go as well. In Amsterdam he clocked 2:09:07 for ninth place. “The course was good in Amsterdam, but the problem was the wind,” said Henry Sugut. Regarding Sunday’s race, when the pacemakers are expected to pass the half way mark in around 63:30 minutes, he said: “That pace is okay for me. I am in good form. I have not raced since Amsterdam. Instead I fully concentrated on Vienna.”
One of Henry Sugut’s training partners, Gilbert Yegon, is also expected to do well on Sunday. “It is always a good feeling if you are running in the leading group and you see a training partner in there as well,” said the defending champion Sugut. However this is also a revenge for 2012. A year ago Gilbert Yegon was second in Vienna behind Sugut with 2:07:38. This is the joint second fastest time ever run in the history of the race. But Gilbert Yegon had been faster before. Running his debut marathon in Amsterdam in 2009 he won with 2:06:18. “After that I had problems with my hamstring for a long time. But now it is fine. So on Sunday I hope for a personal best in Vienna,” said the 24 year-old Kenyan.
Jafred Kipchumba has good memories of Vienna as well. It was back in 2009 when he had participated in a unique debutants only race in the Austrian capital. In his marathon debut he achieved 2:10:42 for sixth place. “The Vienna Marathon changed my life, because I was earning much more prize money from then on. For example I was able to build a house in Kenya,” said Jafred Kipchumba, who won the Milan Marathon in 2010 (2:09:15), improved to 2:08:10 for second place in Toronto in 2010 and then made a major step by taking the Eindhoven Marathon in 2011 with 2:05:48. “After Eindhoven I had an injury. This is the reason why I did not compete last year. But now I am in good shape and I have concentrated fully on the Vienna City Marathon. So I did not run any other races recently,” said Jafred Kipchumba.
The women’s field looks stronger than in recent years as well with a handful of athletes featuring personal bests of sub 2:27. Ethiopia’s Kebebush Haile is the fastest in the field with a personal best of 2:24:09. She ran this time in 2011 when she won the Shanghai Marathon. A disappointing performance in Duesseldorf a year ago, where she finished fifth with 2:29:02 came because of an injury. “I had a hip problem so I did not run after Duesseldorf,” said Kebebush Haile. On Sunday she hopes to improve to a time of sub 2:24. “With such a performance I hope to have a chance for selection for the World Championships in Moscow. Of course I will have to wait and see what my fellow Ethiopians will run in London next week,” the 27 year-old said. But she will also have strong challengers from Ethiopia on Sunday in Vienna. Among them is Assefa Meskerem, who ran a fine debut in Houston earlier this year with 2:25:17. May be on Sunday the 13 year-old course record from Maura Viceconte (Italy/2:23:47) will finally be broken.
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The race starts at 9 am on Sunday (local time) and will be shown live on the internet at www.vienna-marathon.com