Ethiopian Sisay Lemma stepped in with an amazing performance to secure victory for his country at the Vienna City Marathon after pre-race favourite Getu Feleke dropped out injured.
The 24 year-old Lemma won the 32nd edition of Austria’s biggest sporting event with a fine 2:07:31 in windy and relatively warm weather conditions.
The Ethiopian broke away already at the 27km mark and went on to achieve the biggest winning margin in the history of the race.
Kenya’s Duncan Koech was second with 2:12:14, almost five minutes back. While Siraj Gena of Ethiopia took third in 2:12:48 the defending champion Getu Feleke, who clocked a course record of 2:05:41 a year ago, suffered a muscle problem and stopped around the 17km mark.
While Getu Feleke lost contact at 15km and finally dropped out about five minutes later, Eritrea’s Beyene Beraki fell back before the 20km mark.
Lemma, who had clocked his personal best of 2:07:06 less than three months ago in Dubai, made the decisive move early.
When Kogei stepped aside shortly before the 27km mark he surged ahead while Simotwo could not respond. The Kenyan finally finished fifth with 2:14:42.
Building a big lead quickly Lemma had to battle a head wind during the final section of the race. Taking into account these conditions during a solo run it was quite a performance by the Ethiopian.
“If there would have been no wind and good competition until the final stages I think I could have broken the course record – this was my goal. I would like to come back next year and give it another try,” Lemma said after the race.
Africans beaten in women’s race
There was a surprise winner in the women’s race at the 32nd Vienna City Marathon.
Switzerland’s Maja Neuenschwander won with 2:30:09 from Kenyans Agnes Mutune and Esther Chemtai, who clocked 2:30:19 and 2:30:32 respectively.
Caroline Chepkwony of Kenya took fourth in 2:30:36 Germany’s defending champion Anna Hahner was fifth in 2:30:50.
Fate Tola, who ran her first marathon after maternity leave, faltered and started loosing a lot of ground at 29km. In the end she finished seventh with 2:34:43.
A record number of 42,742 runners from 129 nations entered the various events of the Vienna City Marathon. The marathon had slightly over 9,000 entries. The event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.