Getu Feleke kept his promise after he took last year’s Vienna City Marathon with a sensational course record of 2:05:41. It is not that long ago when such a time was thought to be impossible on this course. During the post race press conference the Ethiopian promised to come back this year. This is what he did. “I am happy to be in Vienna again. I really like this city. I know the course and the organisation well and I appreciate the support of the spectators,” said Getu Feleke, who will already compete for the third time in Austria’s biggest sporting event. Back in 2009 he ran his debut in Vienna with 2:11:42. On Sunday Feleke intends to attack his own course record in the Vienna City Marathon, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Adding other running events staged parallel on Sunday the event registered a record total of more than 42,500 entries.
With weather forecasts looking good apart from a bit of wind organisers hope to see a very fast winning time on Sunday. It is planned to instruct the pacemakers for a 2:05 time target. 28 year-old Feleke even thinks of a slightly better result. “If the weather is good then I want to attack my personal best,” the Ethiopian said. It was in Rotterdam in 2012 where he ran 2:04:50 when he placed second. “If the conditions are not ideal then I will at least go for the course record and possibly below 2:05:30,” Feleke added. The current 2015 world leading time stands at 2:05:28, run by Dubai winner Lemi Berhanu of Ethiopia.
When he won last year’s Vienna City Marathon Getu Feleke still suffered slightly of a severe stomach problem that had kept him out of competition for nearly a year. “I have no more stomach problems now,” he said. However there was another problem which made him cancel his start in the Frankfurt Marathon last October. “I picked up a leg injury in the build up to Frankfurt, which took a long time to heal,” explained Feleke, whose Vienna win remained his only race in 2014. After recovery he started preparing for the Vienna City Marathon and ran a 60:45 half marathon in Barcelona, where he placed second in February. “This was a very good result for me and it showed that I am in good form. I could relax a bit more in training after that,” said Feleke, who now receives training programmes from renowned Italian coach Roberto Canova. “I really hope for a good time on Sunday.”
While the defending champion is the big favourite there are two fellow-Ethiopians who could do well: Sisay Lemma and Siraj Gena are expected to follow Feleke’s pace. Lemma has clocked a 2:07:06 personal best in Dubai this January while Gena has a PB of 2:08:31 so far. “I have recovered well after Dubai. And now I am in a better shape than before the Dubai race,” said Lemma.
A Kenyan challenge might come from Duncan Koech, who has a personal record of 2:07:53. He ran last year’s Vienna City Marathon, finishing fourth with 2:09:17. “It is a big advantage that I know the course and I know that I am able to run the second half faster than the first one. It is my goal to run a personal best on Sunday,” said Koech.
Organisers had to cope with a couple of last minute cancellations due to injuries. Among them there are Ethiopia’s Gebo Burka, Kenya’s Josphat Keiyo and Brasil’s Paulo Paula.
Men’s main contenders with personal bests
Getu Feleke ETH 2:04:50
Sisay Lemma ETH 2:07:06
Duncan Koech KEN 2:07:53
Beraki Beyene ERI 2:08:27
Siraj Gena ETH 2:08:31
El Hassane Ben Lkhainouch FRA 2:11:06
Mariusz Gizynski POL 2:11:20
Roman Prodius MOL 2:12:31
Hosea Kipkemboi KEN 2:12:32
A live stream will be available on Sunday, see more info here>>. Additionally there will be English live web reporting available. The race starts at 8.59 am CEST. The live stream will be available worldwide.
For more information please visit: www.vienna-marathon.com or contact Andreas Maier (Press Officer): andreas.maier@vienna-marathon.