Two-time ING New York City Marathon champion, Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia, and 2004 IAAF World Cross Country champion, Benita Johnson of Australia, are the top athletes contracted to take part in next Sunday's Austrian Women's Run, an all-women's 5 km road race in Vienna. It will be the 22nd edition of the event which has attracted over 18,000 entrants, organizers reported.
Prokopcuka, 32, owns nearly every Latvian women's distance running record, including the 10,000m (30:38.78) and the marathon (2:22:56). The same can be said for Johnson, 30, who is the fastest Australian at those same distances (30:37.68/2:22:36). In her previous appearances this year, Prokopcuka won the Semi-Marathon de Paris for the third time (1:10:43), was fourth at the Meia-Maratona Internacional de Lisboa (1:09:58), third at the Great Ireland Run 10-K (32:30), second at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Run 10-K (33:14), and third at the BUPA Great Manchester Run 10-K (32:41). Johnson has only had one competitive outing in 2009, finishing sixth in last Saturday's Freihofer's Run for Women 5-K (16:00).
Also expected to compete are Jessica Augusto of Portugal, the silver medalist at last December's European Cross Country Championships, and Krisztina Papp of Hungary, a two-time Olympian at 5000m. Papp also won the Vienna women's race in 2006 in 15:36 (15:35.9), still the course record.
Race organizers Ilse Dippmann and Andreas Schnabl were forced to close the registration process early this year because the race had sold out.
PHOTO CREDITS: Jelena Prokopcuka in New York for the 2007 NYRR New York Mini 10K (photo by Jane Monti); Benita Johnson winning the 2006 Sanyo Women's Road Race (courtesy photo).