FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Haile Gebrselassie to Run in Vienna
Haile Gebrselassie will run a unique half marathon chase race in Vienna on
17th April 2011. With great proud organisers of the Vienna City Marathon
announced the signing of the world's greatest long distance runner. It will
be Haile Gebrselassie's first race in Europe after the Ethiopian decided to
continue his career, following his original withdrawal from the sport in
New York in November. "We are honoured that Haile has agreed to come to our
race. Besides his legendary victories and records it is his extraordinary
and charming personality, which makes him the most prominent face of our
sport. Haile is the perfect ambassador of running," said Wolfgang Konrad,
the Race Director of the Vienna City Marathon.
The Vienna City Marathon is Austria's biggest one day sports event. In 2010
a total of 32,940 runners from 108 nations had entered the race through the
picturesque capital. Online entry for the 2011 race is available at:
While the marathon is the main event there are other races staged parallel.
Among them is the half marathon in which Haile Gebrselassie will compete.
Running the marathon in Vienna was no option since Haile Gebrselassie had
already agreed to compete in Tokyo on 27th February and additionally the
budget would not have been big enough for such a signing. That is why
organisers looked for alternative options. They finally created a special
race just for Haile Gebrselassie, which will have the motto: 'Catch me, if
you can'. The 37 year-old will not only run the half marathon but he will
also chase the elite marathon runners, who will run on the same course and
who will get a head start. The time difference between the two starts will
be determined nearer to the event. "We were able to convince Haile of our
city, our race and our plans," said Wolfgang Konrad.
"I look forward to running in Vienna and expect this to be a thrilling race
for the athletes and the spectators," said Haile Gebrselassie, who will
celebrate his 38th birthday in Vienna on the day after the event. The world
marathon record holder (2:03:59 in Berlin 2008) said that he would prepare
seriously and "as usual I will give my best" to put in a great performance.
"It was probably our last chance to bring Haile to the Vienna City Marathon
and give our spectators the opportunity to see the world's greatest long
distance runner in action," explained Wolfgang Konrad. "Our whole
organising team is really happy that we succeeded and that Haile will come
to Vienna. I am sure he will get a great reception by the people of our
During his unique career Haile Gebrselassie won two Olympic gold medals in
the 10,000 m (1996 and 2000) and was world champion at this distance four
times in a row (1993, '95, '97 and '99). Additionally he was the world half
marathon champion in 2001 and established 20 official plus 7 unofficial
world records. The Ethiopian won 9 of his 13 marathon races so far.