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Kenya’s winner Kandie invited by President of Austria after Vienna Marathon

2004-05-19

Ten years ago Boston Marathon winners were honoured by a reception at White House in Washington. Multiple winners Cosmas Ndeti (Kenya) and Uta Pippig (Germany) met the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, even more than once and jogged with him in a park. May be the designated President of the Federal State of Austria remembered this gesture when he decided to invite the winner and the race director of the 21st Vienna City Marathon for tea today.

At noontime Vienna’s new course record holder Samson Kandie, who clocked 2:08:35 despite windy conditions on Sunday, and race director Wolfgang Konrad were met by Heinz Fischer in the parliament of Austria. Fischer has just been elected as new president in a people’s vote and will officially take over in the coming weeks. It is the first time in the history of the race that the winner is invited by the President of Austria. Italian women’s winner Rosaria Console, who has surprisingly beaten favourite Lidia Simon in a time of 2:29:22, had been unavailable because she had to leave Vienna early in the morning on Monday. The invitation is another proof for the extraordinary standing of the Vienna City Marathon as Austria’s biggest international one day sporting event. Interest in the race is enormous. Despite the miserable weather conditions around 200,000 spectators lined the streets of the capital of Austria. Additionally interest in the TV live coverage of the ORF (Austrian national broadcaster) was bigger than before. 302,000 people watched the race on TV. That meant that 42 percent of all Austrian people watching TV on Sunday morning had switched on to follow the marathon coverage.

Samson Kandie hopes to return to the Vienna City Marathon next year. The 33 year-old said: “It would be nice to further improve the course record to a sub 2:08 time. I believe that if the weather is fine and you have a strong group of athletes running together until the later stages of the race even a time of sub 2:07 is possible in Vienna.”


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