Morocco’s Lahoucine Mrikik wins in Vienna (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News 7 May 2006 – Vienna, Austria

Mrikik 2:08:20 course record and Morimoto 2:24:33 in Vienna Marathon

Vienna, AustriaThe 23rd edition of the Vienna City Marathon which was staged today produced one of the best quality races in its history. Morocco’s Lahoucine Mrikik, 33, surprisingly set a new course record of 2:08:20, slashing his previous personal best (2:13:31 – New York 2001), while in the women’s race Japan’s 22 year-old Tomo Morimoto ran 2:24:33 for victory.

In fine weather conditions 23,961 runners participated in the various events of the Vienna City Marathon. At the start the temperature was 12° Celsius. While there was hardly any wind it was getting warm during parts of the race when the sun came out.

MEN

The men’s race began fast - 5km 15:05; 10km 30:16 - but some of the early sped was lost in the middle of the race. Eight runners were in the leading group that passed the half way mark in 64:22 minutes. The course record of Samson Kandie (Kenya), who had run 2:08:35 two years ago, then seemed to slip away when the splits were around 3:05 minutes for several kilometres.

30km was reached in 1:31:48, and it was shortly before that point when the group broke up. Mrikik and Kenyan Peter Chebet took the lead and at around 38km the Moroccan increased the pace once more. He clocked 2:55 minutes for the next kilometre and decisively left behind Chebet, whose brother Joseph had won the race three years ago.

“I had chosen Vienna because I knew that the pace would suit me. It was my aim to run sub 2:10 but I did not expect a 2:08 before. But today everything was perfect: my form and the weather conditions”, said Mrikik, who will turn 34 on 7 June, and who sometime trains with former London Marathon winner Abdelkader El Mouaziz in Morocco.

Chebet finished was second with 2:08:56 while Fukuoak winner and the pre-race favourite Dmytrov Baranovsky (Ukraine) was third in 2:10:56.

WOMEN

In the women’s race the 22-year-old winner Tomo Morimoto produced the 12th fastest time in the world this year with 2:24:33. It was the second fastest time ever run in Vienna behind the 2:23:47 course record of Maura Viceconte (Italy) from 2000.

Japan’s Chieko Yamasaki and Mary Ptikany of Kenya passed 10km together with Morimoto in 34:24. Yet before the 20km mark, Morimoto, who had run her marathon debut this year in Osaka clocking 2:27:46, broke away from the others, and was never again challenged. Passing half way in 1:12:31 she was already 25 seconds clear of Yamasaki.

“I felt fine and saw the chance of running a very good time”, the winner later explained. “Now it is my aim to qualify for the World Championships in Osaka next year,” said Morimoto.

Yamasaki finished second (2:29:09), with Ptikany, third in 2:31:29. Fourth placed Susanne Pumper broke the Austrian record with 2:32:21.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF