Vienna Marathon with Kosgei, Thugwane, Kipsos and defending champion Kandie
Some of Vienna's favourites: Kosgei, Kandie, Barsosio, Thugwane and Usisivu (from left to right).
Sunday’s 22nd edition of the Vienna City Marathon will see the greatest field ever assembled for this race. For the first time an Olympic Champion runs in Vienna: Josiah Thugwane (South Africa/1996). There are eight men with personal bests of sub 2.10 and four of them have already been faster than 2.08. Among them is the defending champion Samson Kandie. The Kenyan broke the course record last year, clocking 2.08.35.
About 20,000 runners are expected to take part in different events on Sunday. The Vienna City Marathon will once again be Austria’s biggest sports event in the summer season. It will be broadcasted live on the national TV programme ORF. During the last few year’s the coverage was seen by an average of 300,000 viewers.
“I hope that the great potential of our elite runners can be transformed into some very good results on Sunday. So I hope the temperatures will not get too warm”, the elite race director Mark Milde said. At present temperatures of around 25 ° Celsius are forecasted for Sunday.
Pacemakers are supposed to cover the first have in about 64 minutes. That could well mean that Kandie has to run quicker than his course record to have a chance for a second triumph. Vincent Kipsos (Kenya), who clocked 2.06.52 for third place in Berlin in 2002, Japhet Kosgei (Kenya), who won the Rotterdam Marathon with 2.07.09 in 1999, Josiah Thugwane (South Africa/2.07.28), the Olympic Marathon Champion of 1996, Boniface Usisivu (Kenya/2.07.50) and Tereje Wodajo (Ehtiopia/2.08.11) have all run faster than last year’s winner.
But Samson Kandie is optimistic: “I had some problems in the second half of last year. But now I am fit for Vienna. I hope for a fast race and I am prepared for it”, the 34 year-old said. Additionally he highlighted today’s press conference when he revealed the name of his baby daughter who was born just a couple of days after he had won last year’s race: “Her name is Vienna. So I will never forget the Vienna City Marathon.”
After a break of one year Japhet Kosgei wants to prove that he still is a top marathon runner. The 36 year-old has won three marathons in sub 2:08 times: Rotterdam (1999), Tokyo (2000) and Otsu (2003). “I was then feeling very tired and found it hard to do long training runs. So I took a long break. But now I am fine again, and I have trained well for Vienna”, Kosgei said.
In the women’s race the focus will be mainly on one athlete: Florence Barsosio. The Kenyan had been second in Paris on 10th April. “I was not satisfied with the race and with my time of 2.27.18 – so I have decided to try to do better in Vienna.”
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