Gilbert Yegon at the 2010 Boston Marathon (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News Vienna, Austria

2:06 man Yegon hopes tradition will continue in Vienna

Since 1993 the men’s race of the Vienna City Marathon has produced 19 different winners. No one has been able to take Austria’s biggest sporting event for a second time. This year might be different since the organisers have invited four former winners back to their event.

But as announced today plenty of talent has been added to the field. One of those hoping that the recent tradition of no second time winners will continue and play in his favour is Gilbert Yegon. With a personal best of 2:06:18 the Kenyan will be the second fastest in the field at this IAAF Gold Label Race on 15 April. He hopes to be winner number 20 since 1993.

Past winners Gilbert Kirwa (2009/PB: 2:06:14), John Kiprotich (2011/2:07:08), Henry Sugut (2010/2:08:22) and Luke Kibet (2007/2:08:52), Kenyans whose starts had been announced earlier, hope to become Vienna’s first double winner since Karel David (Czech Republic/1991 and ’92), but Yegon is a runner who could spoil the party. The 23-year-old won the 2009 Amsterdam Marathon with his personal best. It was his Marathon debut and Yegon broke Haile Gebrselassie’s course record by two seconds. After suffering a cramp in the final stages he said that without the problem he would have run a sub-2:06 time.

While Yegon is the second fastest, John Komen takes fourth spot on this list. The 34-year-old Kenyan has put together a series of fine Marathon results in France. Last year he took the Marathon in La Rochelle with a personal best of 2:07:13. Before that he competed in Paris (2:08:12 in 2009) and Reims (2:08:06 in 2008).

Having missed a Vienna victory by only 12 seconds last year, Patrick Ivuti wants to go one better now. The Kenyan, who had won the Chicago Marathon in very warm weather conditions in 2007, placed second with 2:08:41 in 2011. Taking the Prague Marathon in 2009 with 2:07:48 Ivuti missed his personal best by just two seconds. The 33-year-old again placed second last year, when he ran the Honolulu Marathon.

Three more Kenyans will also be in with a chance of taking the race's 29th edition: Wilson Kigen has a personal best of 2:08:16 from Frankfurt in 2008 while Geoffrey Ndungu and Lusapho April had more recent success in 2011: Ndungu won the Dublin Marathon with 2:08:35 and April took the Hannover race in 2:09:25.

Two of the fastest European runners of recent years will hope to achieve good placings. Iaroslav Musinschi (Moldova) produced a good performance in Düsseldorf two years ago when running alone for long parts of the race he won with a course record of 2:08:32. Russia’s Dmitriy Safronov is the bronze medallist from the European Championships in Barcelona 2010. He then improved to 2:09:35 in London a year ago.

More power added to women's field as well

A Russian could also play a role in the women’s race, for which defending champion Fate Tola (Ethiopia/2:26:21) and two-time winner Luminita Talpos (Romania/2:26:43) have already been announced. Olga Glok won the Prague Marathon in 2009 with a personal best of 2:28:27. The Russian then took second in the Athens Marathon 2010, when the unique 2500 year jubilee of the Marathon was celebrated.

Aberesh Bedasa (Ethiopia/2:29:47) and the Dublin Marathon winner from last year, Helaria Johannes (Namibia/2:30:37), have been added to the field as well. But the favourites in the women’s race will have to keep an eye on a debutant: Pauline Kahenya Njeri (Kenya) showed very promising form a few weeks ago. The 26-year-old won the Paris Half Marathon with a personal record of 1:07:55, which was a course record as well.

Jorg Wenig (Organisers) for the IAAF