Kenya's Felix Limo Heads Strong Men's Field In Vienna
April 7, 2010
The Vienna City Marathon, which will be staged for the 27th time on 18th April, could well see the best quality men’s race in its history. Eight runners have been signed with personal bests of sub 2:10. The fastest of this group is the fastest marathoner ever entered into the Vienna City Marathon: Felix Limo features a personal best of 2:06:14. The 29 year-old Kenyan intends to show that he still belongs to the best marathon runners worldwide. Among Limo’s strongest rivals will be his fellow-countrymen Luke Kibet, the World Champion from 2007, and Paul Biwott, who boosts a personal best of 2:07:02.
While the course record of 2:07:38 – established by the current World Champion Abel Kirui (Kenya) in 2008 – may well be under threat a different record has already been broken: Organisers have registered close to 31,000 entries for Austria’s number one running event. This includes races at shorter distances which will be held together with the marathon. Despite the tough winter there has never been a bigger field in the history of the Vienna City Marathon. Late entry for the marathon race will still be possible, though online registration closes this Friday (9th April). Please visit the event’s website for further information: www.vienna-marathon.com
While Luke Kibet as well as Austria’s national record holder Günther Weidlinger (2:10:47) had been announced to run Vienna earlier, a group of half a dozen strong Kenyans has now been added to the field. Clearly Felix Limo is the most prominent name. Only a few years ago the Kenyan was one of the dominant figures in marathon running. He took the events in London (2006), Berlin (2004), Chicago (2005) and Rotterdam (2004). Three times Limo clocked sub 2:07 results: In Rotterdam 2004 (2:06:14), in Berlin 2004 (2:06:44) and in Amsterdam 2003, when he finished second in his marathon debut race with 2:06:42.
Felix Limo has tremendous speed and holds the current 15 k world record with 41:29. The Kenyan is one of few athletes who can claim to never have lost against world record holder Haile Gebrselassie in the marathon. Two times the two marathon greats have met so far at this distance – and on both occasions Limo was ahead of the Ethiopian legend in London. Due to back problems Felix Limo was not at his best in 2009, but he is confident that he will run strong again in Vienna at the end of next week.
Felix Limo will have to be in peak form if he wants to take the Vienna City Marathon since he faces tough opposition. While Luke Kibet – winner in Vienna in 2007 before taking the world championship gold – has not yet reached his full potential regarding a fast time (PB: 2:08:52) there is one runner in the field who came very close to a sub 2:07. Paul Biwott improved to 2:07:02 last year, when he was third in Amsterdam. The Kenyan knows the course in Vienna from his third place finish in 2008 (2:08.53). Wilson Kigen (Kenya/2:08:16 when second in Frankfurt in 2008), Joseph Maregu (Kenya/third in Vienna in 2009 with 2:09:25), Mesfin Ademasu (Ethiopia/seventh in Rotterdam 2009 in 2:09:32), Leonard Mucheru (Kenya/second in Tiberias in 2009 with 2:09:37) and Jonathan Yego (Kenya/winner of the Rome Marathon in 2008 with 2:09:57) complete the group of Africans starting in Vienna with personal bests of sub 2:10.
The 2010 Vienna City Marathon can be watched live worldwide on the internet. The live stream will be available on www.vienna-marathon.com on 18th April. Three hours of coverage will be provided by Austrian national TV station ORF and will begin at 8.40 am.