Yegon and Mailu looking for fast time, Moen targets sub 2:10 in Vienna
The jubilee edition of the Vienna City Marathon will most likely see an attack on the course record in the men’s race. Kenyan favorites Bethwell Yegon and Samwel Mailu are expected to run a pace that will be in the region of the 2:05:41 mark. Behind them a group of European runners led by Norway’s Sondre Moen target a sub 2:10 time inside the qualifying mark for the World Championships in Budapest later this year. If he can hold on to this pace Andreas Vojta could become the first Austrian to break 2:10.
Samwel Mailu, Bethwell Yegon and Sondre Moen (left to right), Credit: VCM / Leo Hagen
Organisers of the Vienna City Marathon have registered close to 40,000 entries from 130 nations, including races at shorter distances. Over 9,000 of them are marathon runners. The Vienna City Marathon is a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race. The race will start at 9 am on Sunday and there will be a live stream which is accessible worldwide at: www.vienna-marathon.com
During the press conference in Vienna on Friday morning organisers explained that a small group of athletes want to run a pace that could lead to a course record. Back in 2014 Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke established this mark with 2:05:41. At that time and well before the new generation of running shoes it was a world-class result.
Kenyans Bethwell Yegon and Samwel Mailu are among the runners planning to go with the pace of the leading group. “My aim is to run a personal best on Sunday," said Bethwell Yegon, who has a PB of 2:06:14 which makes him the third fastest on Vienna’s start list. The 30 year-old ran his PB when he took second place in the Berlin Marathon two years ago, where he overtook Ethiopia’s superstar Kenenisa Bekele and finished ahead of him. “This race changed my life and showed me that I am on the right track,“ said Bethwell Yegon, who trains in Iten, Kenya. Originally he was supposed to run a marathon later in spring. “I trained in Iten and reached very good form. So I decided to look for an earlier race than planned and now I run here in Vienna.“
In contrast Samwel Mailu has focussed on the Vienna City Marathon for months. The Kenyan ran his personal best of 2:07:19 in an unexpected marathon debut in Frankfurt last autumn. "Originally I was a pacemaker in Frankfurt, but I then felt very good and continued,“ said Samwel Mailu. “My form is at least as good as before Frankfurt.“ The 30 year-old was originally motivated to start running after watching his fellow-pupils participating in school competitions. As many other African world-class runners he already had a certain training level when he started since he used to run to school and back home. Later Samwel Mailu was inspired by the Olympic steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and marathon superstar Eliud Kipchoge.
Sondre Moen is without doubt the most prominent name among the elite runners on the start list for the Vienna City Marathon. And with his PB of 2:05:48 the former European record holder is the fastest athlete as well. However he will choose a more conservative approach on Sunday. "My aim is to run in the 2:09 group on Sunday", said Sondre Moen, who struggled last year. „First I suffered of Corona in February and then I needed surgery on my heel in July. But recently all went well.“
Sondre Moen will most likely be joined by Germany’s Sebastian Hendel and Andreas Vojta of Austria. The aim for this group of runners is to finish inside the 2:09:40 qualifying time for the World Championships in Budapest this summer. Sebastian Hendel ran a fine marathon debut in Munich in October 2022 with 2:10:37 and recently improved his half marathon PB to 61:52 in Berlin.
Andreas Vojta has run one marathon so far as well, but this was not a serious attempt. After pacing in Vienna a year ago he went on to finish in 2:23:21. “My training was very good, I had no problems,“ said Andreas Vojta, who has a half marathon PB of 63:18. “On Sunday I want to run with Sondre and Sebastian. I am looking for a 2:10. I am not sure if I manage to run this time, but I know I have the potential to do it.“ For Hendel and Vojta the mid-term goal will be to try to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Elite runners with personal bests
Sondre Moen NOR 2:05:48
Abdi Fufa ETH 2:05:57
Bethwell Yegon KEN 2:06:14
Samwel Mailu KEN 2:07:19
Titus Kimutai KEN 2:08:31
Joshua Kogo KEN 2:09:09
Weldu Negash ERI 2:09:14
Felicien Muhitira RWA 2:09:18
Abe Gashahun ETH 2:09:25
Joel Melly KEN 2:09:45
Sebastian Hendel GER 2:10:37
Kamil Jastrzebski POL 2:11:08
Sibusiso Nzima RSA 2:11:43
Dominic Letting KEN 2:12:03
Josphat Bett KEN 2:13:59
Marcus Schöfisch GER 2:15:05
Levente Szemerei HUN 2:17:16
Peter Jenkei HUN 2:17:42
Andreas Vojta AUT 2:23:21
Elvis Cheboi KEN Debut
Yakoub Labquira MAR Debut
For more information please visit: Vienna-Marathon.com or contact Andreas Maier (Press Officer): Andreas@Vienna-Marathon.com.
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