Austria’s most successful long distance runner of recent years will step up the distance: Günther Weidlinger will run his marathon debut at the 26th Vienna City Marathon on 19th April. The women’s field will as well see the debut of a prominent Austrian athlete: Andrea Mayr. Organisers also announced the start of their ,Clean Running Campaign’. The Vienna City Marathon is Austria’s biggest and most spectacular athletics event. Additionally it is an IAAF Silver Label road race. Adding other races the event saw a record number of more than 30,000 runners from 100 nations in 2008.
The former world-class steeple chaser Günther Weidlinger will prepare very seriously for his marathon debut, having started the built-up to the Vienna race already at the end of September. While the 30 year-old will choose a careful approach in his first race at the classic distance of 42.195 k Weidlinger might still end up breaking a record. The national marathon best stands at 2:12:22, which is the time he hopes to improve. It was back in 1986, when Gerhard Hartmann established this record in Vienna. At that time Günther Weidlinger was just eight years old. So far he is the holder of a number of Austrian records: 1,500 m (3:34.69 minutes), 3,000 m (Indoors: 7:44.19), 3,000 m steeple chase (8:10.83), 5,000 m (13:13.44), 10,000 m (27:36.46), 10 k road (28:10) and half marathon (61:42). So the one major record missing in Weidlinger’s impressive portfolio is the marathon.
“The conditions in Vienna are best for me and my debut race. Additionally the organisers of the Vienna City Marathon support me during my preparations for the race and of course it is very tempting to go for the national record in the race where it was once established,” said Günther Weidlinger, who had placed eighth in the Olympic steeple chase final in 2000. “We are very happy that Günther has decided in favour of the Vienna City Marathon. It is the right step for him, for our race and for the sport of running in Austria,” said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad, who has already signed Günther Weidlinger for 2010 as well. “I will first plan to run a second marathon in autumn. With the experience of the two races I then intend to run much faster in Vienna in 2010,” said Günther Weidlinger.
The women’s field will also boost a national debutant, who has been succesful at other events in the past: Andrea Mayr has been among the world’s leading mountain runners in recent years. She was the winner of the World Trophy in 2006 and 2008. As Günther Weidlinger the 29 year-old is the national record holder in the steeply chase as well (9:47.61 minutes). “I have often watched the Vienna City Marathon as a spectator and the atmosphere was always fascinating. I am really looking forward to run my debut here”, said Andrea Mayr, who has a half marathon best of 1:12:47.
Besides the signings of the two Austrian runners organisers of the Vienna City Marathon also announced the start of their ,Clean Running Campaign’. Any runner – even if not a participant in the Vienna race – can support this by signing in on the web page and committing themselves to fair play in the sport as well as anti doping.
So far already more than 1,500 athletes have supported Vienna’s ,Clean Running Campaign’, which also stresses the health bonus and the social benefits of running. Athletes who have signed in and will run the Vienna City Marathon will get a yellow sun on their bib number to make their committment visible.
More information and online entry for the Vienna City Marathon is available at: www.vienna-marathon.com .