Kenyans Nancy Kiprop and Albert Korir took top honours in thrilling duels at the Vienna City Marathon, running 2:24:20 and 2:08:40 respectively at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).
Despite the unfavourable conditions with strong winds, Kiprop clocked the second-fastest women’s time in the history of the race after battling with fellow Kenyan Rebecca Chesir. The men’s race was even closer as Korir edged ahead of Ishmael Bushendich in the final 150 metres to win by two seconds.
With high winds, it soon became obvious that this would not be a day for record attempts. But instead two very competitive races developed. In fact never before has the Vienna City Marathon seen two such thrilling finishes in one race.
The women’s leading group contained six runners when they reached half way in 1:12:36. Ethiopians Shuko Genemo, Meseret Mengistu and Roza Dereje faced three Kenyans: Kiprop, Chesir and debutante Angela Tanui.
It was then when Mengistu, the fastest runner on the start list with a best of 2:23:26, fell off the pace. Having suffered a foot problem during her training for Vienna, she later dropped out.
Genemo and Tanui also struggled. At 30km, reached in 1:42:23, Dereje, Chesir and Kiprop were left in the lead. Dereje held on for another nine kilometres, but eventually had to settle for third.
It left Kiprop and Chesir out in front as they battled for the victory. 37-year-old Kiprop ultimately edged ahead with about 400 metres to go, crossing the line in 2:24:20 to secure her biggest career win to date.
“It was very windy and it was getting really close at the end,” said Kiprop after taking almost a minute off her personal best. “This was my greatest victory.”
Chesir crossed the line five seconds later in 2:24:25, while Dereje took third in 2:25:17. Genemo, the defending champion, finished fourth in 2:26:06