Four women with personal bests under 2:27:00 will contest the Vienna City Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, for its 30th edition on 14 April, organisers announced on Tuesday (2).
Italian women have played significant roles in the history of the race, they have won it the race three times and the course record still belongs to Maura Viceconte, who ran 2:23:47 back in 2000.
Consequently, it is no surprise that there is an Italian name among this quartet, Rosaria Console. The 33 year-old returns to the scene where she triumphed nine years ago, when she ran 2:29:22 in what probably still ranks as her biggest marathon win.
However, her personal best is just 18 months old and Console is still going strong in the wake of her best of 2:26:10 in the 2011 Berlin Marathon.
Console will face two Ethiopians with superior times in the Austrian capital.
Kebebush Haile won in Shanghai two years ago with 2:24:09 but last year did not go that well for her and she was a modest fifth in the Düsseldorf Marathon with 2:29:02. By contrast, Meskerem Assefa had a fine debut more recently when she was third in the 2013 Houston Marathon in January with 2:25:17, and despite poor weather conditions.
Assefa’s switch to the marathon was quite a surprise. The 27 year-old had been a 1500 m runner and had not run further in competition than 3000m in 2011 and 2012. She was a London 2012 Olympic games 1500m semi-finalist just last year and had won a silver medal at this distance at the 2008 African Championships.
The fourth runner with a personal best below 2:27:00 comes is Kenya’s Emily Samoei, who won the 2012 Barcelona Marathon with 2:26:52, improving by almost eight minutes.
A staggering improvement like the one from Samoei could well happen on Vienna’s roads as well.
Filomena Cheyech Daniel has a personal best of just 2.34:13 but the 30 year-old Kenyan comes to Vienna after winning the Rome Ostia Half Marathon recently in a world-class time of 1:07:39 and this suggests she might be a serious contender for victory on 14 April.
Organisers for the IAAF