FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vienna boosts best ever men's field:
Kirui goes for Kirui's course record,
strong Europeans with Baranovsky and Felix
Organisers of the Vienna City Marathon tend to look a bit towards Iceland
in these days. But since there are now signs of a new volcano eruption
there is some relief. "This year all the elite athletes are either already
here or on their way and we expect everyone to be fit for the race," said
Wolfgang Konrad, the Race Director of Austria's biggest and best quality
road race. In 2010 the Vienna City Marathon had suffered from the no fly
zone over Europe and one of those who did not make it to the Austrian
capital was Eliud Kiptanui. The Kenyan then went on to smash the course
record in Prague with 2:05:39.
More than 32,000 runners have already entered the Vienna City Marathon,
which also includes a half marathon. While Ethiopia's superstar Haile
Gebrselassie will run the shorter event at today's press conference the
focus was on the classic distance.
The Vienna City Marathon will be shown live on the internet on Sunday from
8:40 am (start at 8:58 am) at: www.vienna-marathon.com
Much was about Haile Gebrselassie in recent months in the Austrian press.
And so far it was almost unnoticed that the marathon actually will see its
best ever field regarding the depth of the elite athletes. A dozen runners
feature personal bests of sub 2:10. And six of them so far have run faster
than 2:08. With such quality and a very promising weather forecast the
course record of 2:07:38 is an obvious target.
Abel Kirui, the reigning World Marathon Champion, holds the current course
record, which he established three years ago. On Sunday Kirui could be
followed by Kirui. Because Paul Kirui, who has no relationship with his
fellow countryman, is the one with the fastest personal best in the field.
He had clocked 2:06:44 when taking second place in Rotterdam. Since then he
has shown a string of fine performances, clocking sub 2:10 times in each
year. "But I also had a number of injury problems in recent years. That is
why I never was able to break my personal best. But this time the built-up
went very well," said 31 year-old Paul Kirui, who had won the gold medal at
the World Half Marathon Championships in 2004.
While Isaac Macharia (PB: 2:07:16), Nicholas Chelimo (2:07:38), Patrick
Ivuti (2:07:46) and Shadrack Kiplagat (2:07:53) are the other Kenyans in
with sub 2:08 personal bests there is also one European among this group:
Dimitry Baranovsky returns to the Vienna City Marathon. The Ukrainian
clocked his personal best of 2:07:15 when placing second in Fukuoka in
2006. Earlier in that year he had been third in Vienna with 2:10:36. Now
the 31 year-old intends to do better, but it will get tough and probably he
will need to run near to his personal best on Sunday. Another European has
done well in Vienna more recently and returns as well: Henryk Szost
(Poland) was fourth a year ago with a personal best of 2:10:27.
"Although we have a very good women's field as well I would think it is
more likely that we will see a men's course record than a women's record.
This is also because the women's mark is quite a strong one," said Wolfgang
Konrad. It was Italy's Maura Viceconte, who established the course record
of 2:23:47 back in 2000.
Two newcomers to the distance could be in with a surprise on Sunday:
Kenya's Peninah Arusei will run her debut, while Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix
intends to complete her first marathon as well. Both have recently shown
encouraging form. Peninah Arusei, who had three times won the Berlin 25 k
race, took the Paris half marathon a month ago with 68:30 minutes. It is
interesting and could be a promising sign that in this race she beat Philes
Ongori, who then went on to win her marathon debut in Rotterdam last Sunday
with 2:24:20. Ana Dulce Felix hopes to develop into one of Europe's leading
women marathon runners. She recently improved her half marathon best to
68:33, when she was second in Lisbon.
While Arusei and Felix will most probably head for a sub 2:25 time there
are plenty of runners with good marathon experience in the elite field as
well. Five of them feature personal bests between 2:26 and 2:29: Genet
Getaneh (Ethiopia/2:26:37), Elza Kireyeva (Russia/2:28:02), Diana
Lobacevske (Lithuania/2:28:03), Fate Tola (Ethiopia/2:28:22) and Elisabeth
Chemweno (Kenya/2:28:55). "We hope to see an exciting women's race on
Sunday," said Wolfgang Konrad.