Paula Radcliffe settles for third in Berlin (© Getty Images)
Vienna, AustriaPreparing for her final chance of winning an Olympic gold medal Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe will run her main spring road race in Vienna.
The 38 year-old world marathon record holder (2:15:25) will compete in the OMV Half Marathon, which will be staged together with the 29th Vienna City Marathon on 15 April 2012. While preparing for the London Olympic race on 5 August, Radcliffe has decided not to run another marathon before. Instead she has now opted for the race in Austria’s capital. The event features as an IAAF Gold Label Race for the first time this year. The organisers of Austria’s biggest and best quality road race expect a total of well over 30,000 runners. Entries for all events are still accepted online at: www.vienna-marathon.com
A year ago organisers of the Vienna City Marathon had signed Haile Gebrselassie for the half marathon race, this time it is another all-time great, Radcliffe.
Radcliffe, who had qualified for the Olympic marathon with a 2:23:46 third place in Berlin last autumn, has never raced in Austria before. “I am really looking forward to competing in Austria for the first time. For me this will be an important test. I want to run a fast race and then build on that performance for the Olympics,” said Paula Radcliffe, when speaking on the phone to the Vienna organisers from her current training camp in Iten (Kenya).
It was in fact Haile Gebrselassie who had an influence on Paula Radcliffe’s decision to run a half marathon in Vienna. The legendary Ethiopian had won the race in 2011 with a course record of 60:18 minutes and was overwhelmed by the support he got from the spectators. Additionally he was invited to a reception by the President of Austria, Mr Heinz Fischer.
“When I spoke to Haile at the Berlin Marathon he told me about the great atmosphere and the fast course and said: ,You have to run this race!’,” said Radcliffe, who has won three World Half Marathon titles and has a personal best of 65:40 minutes. This is the fastest time ever, but it could not be ratified as a world record, because the course in Newcastle is slightly downhill.
“I am delighted that with the help of our sponsor OMV we are able to bring Paula to Vienna in the Olympic year. Her appearance in Vienna will be very special,” said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad. “We knew that expectations were high after Haile Gebrselassie’s star appearance last year. We have accepted the challenge and now can again present an exceptional world-class athlete to our spectators in Vienna. I am sure that with her outstanding personality Paula will instantly capture the hearts of the Austrians.”
Organisers for the IAAF