Swiss dreams meet African excellence in Vienna’s comeback marathon

Posted by: Races News Service
Foto credit: VCM / Leo Hagen

Fabienne Schlumpf and Tadesse Abraham, the two Swiss record holders, will be running in the same marathon for the first time. It is Austria’s Vienna City Marathon that provides the stage for Swiss dreams on Sunday. „I am hoping for a double triumph for Switzerland,“ says Tadesse Abraham. However they will have to overcome African excellence to achieve what would be a very memorable double victory. Ethiopians Betesfa Getahun and Gelete Burka head the start lists. With a total of 26,000 entrants the Vienna City Marathon will be the first major marathon worldwide with a strong international elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic. It is a World Athletics Label Road Race. The marathon will be streamed live from 8.30 am on Sunday at:

“I am happy to be back for the Vienna City Marathon,“ said Tadesse Abraham, who was runner-up here in 2019 when he clocked his second fastest time with 2:07:24. He ran his Swiss record of 2:06:40 in Seoul in 2016. Later that year he finished in a strong seventh position at the Olympics in Rio. Five years on he did not finish in the Olympic marathon in Sapporo, Japan. “Unfortunately it did not work for me at the Olympics this time. But there are always ups and downs in sport,“ said the 39 year-old.

“After Sapporo it was not so difficult to recover physically since I had not finished the race. It was more difficult mentally. But I have a lot of experience which is helpful and it was good to then quickly refocus on the Vienna City Marathon,“ said Tadesse Abraham, who is the second fastest runner on the elite start list of Austria’s major running event. Ethiopia’s Betesfa Getahun comes to Vienna with a personal record of 2:05:28. The 22 year-old ran this time in his marathon debut in Amsterdam in 2019 when he finished in fourth place. Kento Kikutani of Japan (PB: 2:07:26) plus Kenyan’s Bethwell Rutto (2:07:41) and Edwin Kosgei (2:07:51) are the other athletes who feature personal bests of sub 2:08 in Vienna. The men’s leading group will probably run a sub 2:06 pace. The course record of Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke, who clocked 2:05:41 here in 2014, might then be targeted.

With a personal record of 2:20:45 Gelete Burka is the fastest woman ever on a start list of the Vienna City Marathon which will see its 38th edition on Sunday. Running her personal best in 2018 in Dubai that performance was the break through for the former World Cross Country and 1,500 m Indoor World Championships gold medal winner. Gelete Burka then took the marathons in Ottawa and Paris in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Gelete Burka admits that it was a very difficult period for the Ethiopian elite runners because of the corona pandemic. “They continued training, but otherwise they stayed home as there were no races,“ the 35 year-old said. Gelete Burka herself did not run a marathon since placing third in Chicago two years ago with 2:20:55. „Therefore it is difficult to say what will be possible for me on Sunday. But I think I am well prepared and hope for success.“

A trio of Kenyans look the most likely challengers for Gelete Burka. Risper Chebet (2:23:45), Rebecca Kangogo (2:24:25) and Celestine Chepchirchir (2:24:48) all feature personal bests of sub 2:25.

It will be interesting to see what Fabienne Schlumpf is capable of achieving in such a field and just a very short time after finishing in a strong 12th position at the Olympics. “Sapporo was a dream result for me,“ said Fabienne Schlumpf, who had only run her marathon debut in April in Bern where she clocked her Swiss record time of 2:26:14. As she explained it was planned long-term to do the “Olympic Vienna Double“. “After the race in Sapporo I was very tired. It was not easy to find the right balance between recovery and restarting training. I started with some cycling and swimming. But then I even managed to include some high altitude training in St. Moritz,“ said Fabienne Schlumpf.

“Vienna will be my first city marathon with spectators and I am really looking forward to it and hope that the support of the spectators will push me,“ said the former steeplechaser. “This time I want to run a bit faster right from the start, compared to my other two marathons. It would be great if I could get a PB on Sunday.“

Elite runners with personal bests


Betesfa Getahun ETH 2:05:28

Tadesse Abraham SUI 2:06:40

Kento Kikutani JPN 2:07:26

Bethwell Rutto KEN 2:07:41

Edwin Kosgei KEN 2:07:51

Derara Hurisa ETH 2:08:09

Yuta Koyama JPN 2:08:46

Edwin Kangogo KEN 2:09:12

Isaac Kosgei KEN 2:09:17

Koki Yoshioka JPN 2:10:13

Leonard Langat KEN 2:10:49

Daiji Kawai JPN 2:10:50

Samwel Kiptoo KEN 2:13:18

Jiksa Tadesse ETH Debut

Evans Cheruiyot KEN Debut


Gelete Burka ETH 2:20:45

Risper Chebet KEN 2:23:45

Rebecca Kangogo KEN 2:24:25

Celestine Chepchirchir KEN 2:24:48

Medina Armino ETH 2:26:12

Fabienne Schlumpf SUI 2:26:14

Lucy Cheruiyot KEN 2:27:16

Meseret Dinke ETH 2:32:16

Vibian Chepkirui KEN Debut

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