Haile Gebrselassie set to chase down Paula Radcliffe over half marathon in Vienna
Vienna, Austria – Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia will return to the Vienna City Marathon to run the half distance on 15 April 2012. In total more than 33,000 runners will take part across the races.
The Vienna City Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
As in 2011, the multiple World and Olympic winning and World record breaking Ethiopian will run the Half Marathon, which is staged parallel to the main event. Similar to last year an additional attraction a ‘chase race’ has been arranged with Gebrselassie competing against Paula Radcliffe in the OMV Champions Race!
Radcliffe, the women’s World Marathon record holder had been announced previously as a competitor in the half marathon. She will now start the race with a time advantage and Gebrselassie will chase her.
Gebrselassie took the half marathon title in 2011 with a course record of 60:18, and he also won the chase race with the motto ‘Catch me if you can’ against the leading marathon runners, who were given a head start. He received tremendous support from spectators who included President of Austria Heinz Fischer who invited the two-time Olympic 10,000m champion for a reception. Gebrselassie was so impressed after the weekend in Austria that he promised to come back.
After Gebrselassie’s disappointing result in the Tokyo Marathon, where he finished fourth with 2:08:17 which is not fast enough to qualify for the Ethiopian Olympic team, there was a bit of a doubt regarding the race in Vienna. But he has now decided to go ahead with the half marathon as planned.
The time advantage for Paula Radcliffe in the ‘chase race’ will be determined nearer to the race. She will start her race on her own while Haile Gebrselassie and the whole field will be chasing her on the way to the finish, which is located on the famous Wiener Heldenplatz – Vienna’s Hero Square. There could hardly be a more fitting finish for the duel of two of the world’s greatest athletes.