Big win for Luke Kibet in Vienna (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News

Kibet plus Austrian record holders Weidlinger and Mayr return to Vienna

One World champion and the two national record holders will run the Vienna City Marathon on 18 April.

After winning the race in 2007 and then taking the marathon gold medal at global stage in Osaka a couple of months later, Kenya’s Luke Kibet will now come back to Austria’s biggest and best quality running event. With Günther Weidlinger and Andrea Mayr the two Austrian record holders have also confirmed their participation. Organisers of the 27th edition of the Vienna City Marathon expect a field of up to 30,000 runners on 18th April. This will include races at shorter distances.

Kibet staged a sensational breakthrough in 2007. First the Kenyan took the Vienna City Marathon, clocking 2:10:07 despite very warm weather in the final part of the race. At that time this had been his biggest success so far, but then Luke Kibet went on to even more glory: The Vienna champion surprisingly dominated a field packed with world-class runners at the World Championships in Osaka. In brutally hot and humid conditions the Kenyan ran away from his rivals in the final 10k. Crossing the line in 2:15:59 he had an advantage of well over a minute to second placed Mubarak Shami (Qatar).

After this triumph Kibet sadly experienced a time of set-backs due to injuries. Despite this he won the Singapore Marathon twice, in 2008 and 2009. It was especially his recent race in December that showed that Kibet is well on the way back to his best form. In warm weather the 26-year-old broke the Singapore course record, clocking 2:11:25.

A year after his debut race at the Vienna City Marathon Günther Weidlinger returns to Austria’s most prestigious running event. Hampered by an injury he had finished ninth with 2:12:39 in 2009, but then Weidlinger clearly improved in Frankfurt in October. Clocking 2:10:47 he smashed the 23-year-old Austrian record and established himself as one of Europe’s most promising marathon runners.

Weidlinger, whose current training in Chiclana (Spain) goes very well, intends to go with the leading group in Vienna and could well break the 2:10 barrier.

There is also a prestigious mark to break for Andrea Mayr at the Vienna City Marathon. The defending champion had improved the national record to 2:30:43 on her debut in 2009. Mayr, who is one of the strongest mountain runners worldwide and also the national steeplechase champion, is now looking for a sub 2:30 at her second marathon race.

Athens Marathon flame at the Vienna City Marathon

This year Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and the Athens marathon organisers are marking a unique jubilee for marathon running. 2500 years ago the marathon was born, as announcing the Greek victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon the messenger Pheidippidis is said to have run the distance from the battlefield to Athens. After doing so he collapsed and died.

To mark the birth of the marathon a flame is lit annually at a tomb on the former battlefield. This happens on the day before the Athens Marathon in autumn. After the flame was lit in November 2009 representatives of the Vienna City Marathon proudly received a smaller flame in a lantern which they brought back to Vienna and will be a feature of the Vienna City Marathon with runners passing it in the finish area at the Wiener Hofburg.

Organisers for the IAAF