Vienna City Marathon champions Getu Feleke and Anna Hahner will defend their titles at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on 12 April.
Last year, Ethiopia’s Feleke and Germany’s Hahner produced two of the most spectacular performances in the history of the Austrian road race. While Feleke stormed to a brilliant course record of 2:05:41, Hahner came from well behind in the final few kilometres to snatch victory.
“After these memorable performances by Getu and Anna, we are more than happy to welcome these two athletes back to the Vienna City Marathon,” said race director Wolfgang Konrad. “We are looking forward to another great race.”
It will be Feleke’s third appearance at the Vienna City Marathon. It was here where his marathon career began back in 2009. In a unique debutants-only elite race, Feleke took seventh place with 2:11:42.
With the exception of a DNF at the London 2012 Olympics, all of Feleke’s marathons since his debut have been faster than 2:10. His PB is 2:04:50, while his winning performance in Vienna last year was the second-fastest mark of his career.
But Feleke, who had come back from an illness in 2014, then suffered more misfortune a couple of months later as an injury forced him to withdraw from the Frankfurt Marathon in October. Last Sunday, however, he showed that he has regained his form when finishing second at the Barcelona Half Marathon in 1:00:45, missing victory by just three seconds.
“My aim is to improve my Vienna course record,” said Feleke. With about seven weeks to go before he will travel to the Austrian capital to defend his title, the 28-year-old has been preparing at high altitude in Sululta.
By complete coincidence, it is exactly the same venue near Addis Ababa where Hahner is currently training. Together with twin sister Lisa, she is in Ethiopia for the first time. Both athletes are coached by Italian Renato Canova, who also takes care of Kenenisa Bekele and other world-class runners in Ethiopia.
“I am really looking forward to coming back to Vienna,” said Hahner, who clocked 2:28:59 when winning in Vienna last April. “Last year’s victory was a major step forward for me. The atmosphere was very special.”
With little more than two kilometres to go, she had been almost one-and-a-half minutes behind Caroline Chepkwony. But the Kenyan badly faltered due to stomach problems and Hahner passed her with a few hundred metres to go.
“When I return to Vienna, I want to produce the best possible performance,” said Hahner, whose personal best of 2:26:44 was set at last year’s Berlin Marathon. “I will really give it everything. It is my aim to make the podium again.”
Organisers for the IAAF