05 March 2019, 12pm
Vienna City Marathon
Sun 7 April 2019
The Kenyan could become the first woman in the history of the traditional event to achieve three victories.
One of her main challengers will be Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa, the 2018 winner of the Rome Marathon. Adding other running events a total of more than 40,000 athletes is expected for the 36th Vienna City Marathon, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
More than 30 years ago, when African elite marathon runners played no significant role yet, there was an Austrian who managed to achieve a hat-trick in Vienna: Gerhard Hartmann took the race three times in a row, from 1985 to 1987. More recently Kenya’s Henry Sugut became a three-time champion with victories in 2010, 2012 and 2013. While no woman has achieved this feat Nancy Kiprop is in a position to do so when she returns to the Vienna City Marathon. Two years ago she won in Vienna with a personal best of 2:24:20 after a very close finish. Kiprop was just five seconds ahead of fellow-Kenyan Rebecca Chesire. A year later she had a huge advantage of more than five minutes, when she clocked a PB of 2:24:18 despite very warm weather conditions. In the meantime 39 year-old Kiprop improved this time to 2:22:46 in Frankfurt last October.
“For me it is an easy decision to return to Vienna, as the race is well organised, people are welcoming and I feel appreciated and respected. I am truly humbled by each experience in Vienna,” said Nancy Kiprop, who has seven children and founded a school in her home village Chesitek near to Iten.
Nancy Kiprop’s strongest rival may well be Rahma Tusa. The 25 year-old Ethiopian has already achieved a hat-trick when she won the Rome Marathon for the third time in a row in 2018. Last year she improved her personal best to 2:23:46 in the Italian capital. Tusa also showed a fine performance in the New York City Marathon last November, finishing fifth with 2:27:13.
Besides Nancy Kiprop there is another former Vienna City Marathon Champion returning to the race: Switzerland’s national record holder Maja Neuenschwander hopes for a successful return to the marathon after a stress fracture ruined her season last year. The 39 year-old was a surprise winner of the Vienna City Marathon in 2015 with 2:30:09 and then clocked the Swiss record of 2:26:49 in Berlin later that year. In Rio’s Olympic Marathon in 2016 she achieved a fine 29th place. However since then Maja Neuenschwander did not finish a marathon.