In his marathon debut Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa notches a 2:08:21 victory in Vienna (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News Vienna, Austria

Kenyan and home victories as Vienna’s unique debutants’ race initiative proves a success

Kenya’s Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa and Austria’s Andrea Mayr were the winners in the unique debutants only race at the Vienna City Marathon.

The Vienna City Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

23 year-old Kirwa took the race with a fine 2:08:21 in warm weather conditions with temperatures climbing to around 20° Celsius in the sun. Ethiopia’s Dereje Debele Tulu was second in 2:09:08 and Joseph Maregu (Kenya) took third with 2:09:25.

With Degefa Abebe Negewo (Ethiopia) running 2:09:52 it was the first time in the history of the Vienna City Marathon that the first four runners clocked sub 2:10 times – and this despite the fact that there were only debutants in the elite fields.

Mayr wrote Austrian athletics history by becoming only the second home athlete to win the women’s race and additionally breaking the Austrian marathon record in her debut race. The 29-year-old clocked 2:30:43 to beat Ethiopians Derbe-Godana Gebissa (2:31:31) and Hayato-Zeineba Hasso (2:34:01). Mayr improved the national record from Eva-Maria Gradwohl (2:30:51 in 2008) by eight seconds.

Including shorter races 29,054 runners from 100 nations had entered the 26th Vienna City Marathon.


The Kenyan, who is a training partner of world-class marathon runner Jason Mbote (Kenya/2:07:37), had been in the big leading group right from the start. They passed the half marathon mark in 64:17 minutes, which was slightly slower than expected. But the pace was picked up around the 25k mark and soon after that more and more runners lost contact to the leaders.

At 30 k (1:30:40) the final two pacemakers dropped out and a duel between Kirwa and Negewo developed with Maregu just a couple of strides behind. But when Kirwa further increased the pace he started opening a decisive gap soon after the 36 k point.

“I am very happy with this debut victory and with my time. The spectators helped me a lot. It was a great race in a great city. After this debut I hope to run 2:04 one day,” said Kirwa, who achieved the third fastest performance ever in the Vienna City Marathon and earned 20.000 Euros.

The most prominent debutant in the field had not a good day: The Olympic Steeplechase champion from 2000 in Sydney, Reuben Kosgei of Kenya, dropped out of the race. Another former steeplechaser, Günther Weidlinger, ran an encouraging debut in Vienna. But in the end he was unlucky, because he missed the Austrian record by just 17 seconds. Weidlinger finished ninth with 2:12:39.

“I was well in time for the record for a long time, but the final two kilometres really killed me. I could not run any more. To finish ninth is okay for me, but I am disappointed to have missed the record,” said Weidlinger.


The  race was surprisingly dominated by Andrea Mayr throughout. Tiruwork Mekonnen (Ethiopia) had asked for a 2:25 pace, but early in the race she decided to go for a more careful approach and ran a couple of metres behind the Austrian. The two time winner of the World Mountain Running Trophy soon started building a big lead. When Mayr reached the half way point in 1:14:47 she was already more than a minute ahead of the Ethiopian trio with Gebissa, Hasso and Mekonnen.

At 30 k the crowd favourite Mayr had increased her lead to more than 90 seconds. Having started the race despite a foot injury the Austrian had a difficult section between 36 and 40 km.

“When I looked at my watch with three kilometres to go I thought I would not be able to break the national record. I felt a bit sad, but said to myself you are still in the lead and can win the race. When I checked my watch again at 42k I saw that I had 50 seconds left – so I gave everything I had left and said to myself: you have to get the record,” Mayr said after finishing with 2:30:43. “It was an unbelievable race for me,” she added.

Mayr, who became the first Austrian woman to win the Vienna City Marathon since Carina Lilge-Leutner back in 1987, received the winner’s prize money of 15,000 Euros.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF


1. Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa  KEN 2:08:21
2. Dereje Debele Tulu ETH 2:09:08
3. Joseph Maregu  KEN 2:08:25
4. Degefa Abebe Negewo ETH 2:09:52
5. Mohamed El-Hachimi MAR 2:10:24
6. Jafred Chirchir  KEN 2:10:42
7. Getu Fekele  ETH 2:11:42
8. Pedro Nimo Del-Oro ESP 2:12:10
9. Günther Weidlinger AUT 2:12:39
10. Maswai Kiptanui KEN 2:13:25

1. Andrea Mayr  AUT 2:30:43
2. Derbe-Godana Gebissa ETH 2:31:31
3. Hayato-Zeineba Hasso ETH 2:34:01
4. Tiruwork Mekonnen ETH 2:34:07
5. Olga Kalenarova-Ochal UKR 2:35:25
6. Esther Muthuku  KEN 2.39:22