Vienna Marathon 2021 Preview

The Vienna marathon kicks off a 2021 autumn marathon season that is going to be back with big city marathons. With the Vienna Marathon taking place this coming Sunday 12th September, we run our eyes over the ones to watch in the elite field.

Who is in the elite field for the 2021 Vienna City Marathon?

The women’s elite field is as follows:

AthleteCountryPersonal Best
Gelete BurkaEthiopia2.20.45 (Dubai, Jan 2018)
Risper ChebetKenya2.23.45 (Milan, May 2021)
Rebecca KangogoKenya2.24.25 (Vienna, Apr 2017)
Celestine ChepchirchirKenya2.24.48 (Seoul, Mar 2019)
Fabienne SchlumpfSwitzerland2.26.14 (Belp, Apr 2021)
Lucy CheruiyotKenya2.27.16 (Prague, May 2019)

The men’s elite field is as follows:

AthleteCountryPersonal Best
Betesfa GetahunEthiopia2.05.28 (Amsterdam, Oct 2019)
Tadesse AbrahamSwitzerland2.06.40 (Seoul, Mar 2016)
Kento KikutaniJapan2.07.26 (Lake Biwa, Feb 2021)
Bethwell Rutto Kenya2.07.41 (Siena, Apr 2021)
Edwin KosgeiKenya2.07.51 (Siena, Apr 2021)
Fikre WorknehEthiopia2.07.58 (Geneva, May 2021)
Derara HurisaEthiopia2.08.09 (Mumbai, Jan 2020)
Yuta KoyamaJapan2.08.46 (Lake Biwa, Feb 2021)
Koki YoshiokaJapan2.10.13 (Lake Biwa, Mar 2020)
Leonard LangatKenya2.10.49 (Hefei, Nov 2018)
Daiji KawaiJapan2.10.50 (Lake Biwa, Mar 2019)

Who are the favourites for the women’s race?

On paper the favourite has to be Gelete Burka. The Ethiopian is a World 10,000m silver medalist from Bejiing in 2015 and won the world indoor title in 2008 over 1500m. Burka also won the World Cross-Country title in 2006 over the short course. Her personal best gives her the honour of being the fastest women ever to tow the start line in Vienna. Burka’s 2.20.45 was achieved in 2018 in finishing sixth in the Dubai Marathon. That said she has hardly raced since coming third in Chicago in October 2019. She is now 35 and will be bidding for her third city marathon win after Ottowa in 2018 and Paris in 2019. Burka may target Nancy Kiprop‘s course record of 2.22.12 from 2019.

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Risper Chebet made her marathon debut back in 2016, where she finished third in the Prague Marathon in 2.27.23. She has since raced inconsistently though was fifth earlier this year in Milan running 2.23.45.

Rebecca Kangogo (Chesire) comes to Vienna largely as an unknown entity, having last raced in Shenzen in 2019 where she came fifth in a modest 2.38.06. She will have fond memories of Vienna having come second in 2017 to Nancy Kiprop.

Your next big marathon star?

The Vienna’s of this world have the ability to unnearth some pretty big stars of the future. Sissay Lemma won the 2015 edition in the mens race and Vincent Kipchumba (second in London in 2020) was a victor in 2019. Celestine Chepchirchir will hope to join that bracket. The 25-year-old podiumed at Vienna in 2018 and has since won Cape Town and finished second and third in Guangzhou and Seoul respectively. Her 2021 has been less than consistent with a DNF in the Eldoret City Marathon as well as a second place finish in Lagos. She will, nevertheless, be one to watch.

Fabienne Schlumpf will lead the European charge and was twelth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Her 2.26.14 from earlier this year broke the Swiss record and she is likely to be in the mix.

The youngest elite woman is Lucy Cheruiyot, the 24-year-old Kenyan who last raced a marathon in 2019. She won in Macao that year and was fifth in Prague. Could she cause an upset in Vienna? Cheruiyot won the 2019 Cardiff Half Marathon.

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Who are the favourites for the men’s race?

The 2021 Vienna Marathon men’s race features a whole host of athletes who have run personal bests this year. The fastest in the field is Ethiopia’s Betesfa Getahun but he has not finished a marathon since placing 4th in Amsterdam in 2.05.28. He has only raced once since then, when he dropped out of 2020’s Valencia marathon. The second fastest on paper, Tadesse Abraham, ran 2.06.40 back in 2016 and most recently dropped out of the Olympic marathon.

A Japanese runner could genuinely break up the Kenyans and Ethiopians (and Swiss). Kento Kikutani was ninth in Lake Biwa earlier this year in 2.07.26, though he has not proved that form over the shorter distances. Yuta Koyama was 29th in the same race.

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Bethwell Rutto and Edwin Kosgei‘s personal bests of 2.07.41 and 2.07.51 were achieved in coming 12th and 13th respectively in Siena earlier this year. Though some of the fastest in the field, they may require significant improvement to challenge for the win.

A couple to watch are Fikre Workneh who was third in Geneva but perhaps more interestingly Derara Husisa. Husisa last ran in January 2020 but when he did he won the Mumbai Marathon in 2.08.09. He is just 24.

Finally Leonard Langat is a dark horse by virtue of his Cardiff Half Marathon win in 59:30. He has yet to translate this to the full distance but if he can he will prove a challenge for everyone.

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Featured image “Security beim Wiener Marathon” by Ivan Radic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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