FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Haile Gebrselassie Returns to Vienna
to Run a Chase Race Against Paula Radcliffe
Haile Gebrselassie will return to the Vienna City Marathon on 15th April.
As last year the great Ethiopian will run the half marathon, which is
staged parallel to the main event. Similar to 2011 a chase race is
arranged, but this time the opponent is a woman: Haile Gebrselassie will
compete against Paula Radcliffe in the OMV Champions Race! The British
world marathon record holder had been announced earlier as a competitor in
the half marathon. She will now start the race with a time advantage and
Haile Gebrselassie will chase her.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to present our spectators a race of
which you could only dream of. Haile running against Paula – two inspiring
personalities and may be the two best runners of all times up against each
other – this is something unique in the world of road running," said a
delighted Wolfgang Konrad, the Race Director of the Vienna City Marathon.
His event will feature a total of more than 33,000 runners. Entries are
still possible for both the marathon and the half marathon. The Vienna City
Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Haile Gebrselassie took the race in 2011 with a course record of 60:18
minutes. He also won the chase race with the motto 'Catch me if you can'
against the leading marathon runners, who were given a head start. A year
ago he received a tremendous reception by the spectators, politicians from
the city and even the President of Austria. Mr Heinz Fischer had invited
the two time Olympic 10,000 m Champion for a reception. Haile Gebrselassie
was so impressed after the weekend in Austria that he promised to come
back. He does so at the very first opportunity.
After the disappointing result in the Tokyo Marathon, where Haile
Gebrselassie finished fourth with 2:08:17 which is not fast enough to
qualify for the Ethiopian Olympic team, there was a bit of a doubt
regarding the race in Vienna. But he decided to go ahead as planned. So the
half marathon will now be his next race – and this should be an experience
he will enjoy once more.
Both superstars had initially welcomed the idea of the chase race and
confirmed their participation instantly. The time advantage for Paula
Radcliffe will be determined nearer to the race. She will start her race on
her own while Haile Gebrselassie and the whole field will be chasing her on
the way to the finish, which is located on the famous Wiener Heldenplatz –
Vienna's Hero Square. There could hardly be a more fitting finish for the
duel of two of the world's greatest athletes.