The Vienna City Marathon could turn into a race for records and Olympic dreams next Sunday. If weather conditions are suitable the women’s course record of 2:20:59 is expected to be attacked and may be even the 2:05:08 men’s course best could come under threat. Additionally a number of runners will chase Olympic qualification at Austria’s most prestigious road race. Organisers of the 41st Vienna City Marathon, which is a World Athletics Elite Label event, have registered a total of over 41,000 entries. More than 10,000 of them are marathon runners. 

Four men are on the start list with personal bests of sub 2:08:00 while another half dozen have run below 2:10:00. There will most likely be two groups with different targets in the men’s race in Vienna. Last year’s runner-up Bethwell Yegon, fellow-Kenyan Felix Kibitok and Ethiopia’s Chala Regasa, who heads the start list with a personal best of 2:06:11, are expected to run in the leading group fighting for victory and possibly trying to go for the course record. Kenya’s Samwel Mailu established this mark last year, when he ran a very strong 2:05:08 in warm conditions.

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The target for the group behind will be to go under the Olympic qualifying time of 2:08:10. Belgium’s Lahsene Bouchikhi, who has a personal best of 2:08:36, Daniel Paulus of Namibia (2:08:40) and Mexico’s Juan Pacheco (2:09:45) will likely be among those joining this group.

Embed from Getty Images It will be a similar scenario in the women’s race. Eritrean national record holder Nazret Weldu has a PB of 2:20:29 and is one of the hot favourites in Vienna. In contrast to fellow-Eritrean Dolshi Tesfu she still needs to run the Olympic qualifying time. Tesfu has a PB of 2:20:40 which she ran inside the Olympic qualifying period, thus making sure she will be on the start line in Paris in August. There could well be an Eritrean battle for victory and the winner could then bag the course record and may be even the national record as well.

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Five women are on the start list with personal bests of 2:24:00 while another five have run between 2:25 and 2:30. A couple of athletes hope to still qualify for the Olympic Games. It is likely that a time of around 2:26:00 will be necessary to secure a place in the Paris field limited to 80 runners.

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Helalia Johannes is the fastest on the start list with a PB of 2:19:52. At the age of 43 the runner from Namibia is not expected to be in contention for victory, but an Olympic qualifier could be well within reach for her.

Elite runners with personal bests

MEN:

Chala Regasa ETH 2:06:11
Bethwell Yegon KEN 2:06:14
Felix Kibitok KEN 2:06:28
Albert Kangogo KEN 2:07:48
Lahsene Bouchikhi BEL 2:08:36
Daniel Paulus NAM 2:08:40
Leonard Barsoton KEN 2:09:06
Bernard Muia KEN 2:09:17
Mica Cheserek KEN 2:09:26
Juan Pacheco MEX 2:09:45
Tiidrek Nurme EST 2:10:02
Peter Herzog AUT 2:10:06
Ivan Gonzalez COL 2:11:07
Daviti Kharazishvili GEO 2:11:46
Ngonidzashe Ncube ZIM 2:11:46
Omar Hassan Omar DEN 2:12:19
Cameron Avery NZL 2:12:30
Mario Bauernfeind AUT 2:12:49

WOMEN: 

Helalia Johannes NAM 2:19:52
Nazret Weldu ERI 2:20:29
Dolshi Tesfu ERI 2:20:40
Shyline Torotich KEN 2:22:45
Rebecca Tanui KEN 2:23:09
Hanne Verbruggen BEL 2:26:32
Julia Mayer AUT 2:26:43
Jovana de la Cruz Capani PER 2:26:49
Lilia Fisikovici MLD 2:27:26
Zaida Ramos PER 2:29:49
Diana Bogantes Gonzalez CRI 2:32:09
Alina Armas NAM 2:33:09