Intervju med Kathrin Widu, VD på Vienna City Marathon


Man har ju en viss tendens att nörda ner sig i lopp man ska springa och vill veta allt. Jag har redan kollat många timmar Youtube på fjolårets lopp för att lära mig banan samt kolla vätskestationer m.m. Kanske mer för min egen än allmänna intressets skull kommer här en intervju med Kathrin Widu som är VD för Vienna City Marathon. Obs! In english!

Hello Kathrin!

In April, its time for Vienna Marathon again. We have seen alot of races being fully booked already. How many peoplehave now in January signed up for Vienna?

Currently, we are happy about 20,000 entries for all our events. That’s a very promising figure three months ahead ofthe race weekend. It includes 7,000 in the marathon and 8,000 in the half marathon. The remainder are participants in therelay marathon as well as in the Vienna 5K and the kid’s runs. Marathon and half marathon could well be sold out before theregistration deadline at the beginning of April.

What are your hopes for 2024?

We want to stage an international event in beautiful Vienna for everyone who loves to run and to move. Entry figures are expected to approach or even exceed 40,000 overall. We want to create an inspiring and positive atmosphere. The participants should get a unique experience to remember. That’s our main guideline.

Last year there was a new course record set by Samwel Mailuwith 2:05:08. How is the elite field looking right now, are there any names you can drop

This not ready to announce yet. Be sure that we will have a strong international line-up in both men and womens races. It’s an Olympic year and we are a World Athletics Elite Label Race. Athletes will have a try at the Olympic standard. We always look for a good mix of experienced and upcoming athletes and want to provide a platform also for European and non-African runners. Last year, Sondre Moen from Norwaywas the first non-African finisher in 8th place in 2:10:23.

Samwel Mailuwith. Foto: Leo Hagen

The course looks pretty flat and fast, are there any parts I as a runner should be aware of like hills or sharp corners?

You can definetely run a fast time in Vienna. Course records are proof of that. Be aware that there is a steady uphill partfrom 11 to 18 kilometers. The second half of the race is faster with only a slight uphill part on the final two kilometers. We talked with Sondre Moen about the details oft he course before and after the race. He was like: Right until the finish I was asking myself, where are those hills, you have been talking about? I didn’t see them!

What else could you tell us about the course, any highlights that we as runners could look forward to?

Look forward to these parts especially:

You have a spectacular start on the „Reichsbrücke“ bridgeacross the river Danube, accompanied by the sounds ofthe Blue Danube Waltz by Viennese composer Johann Strauss.
A centrepiece of the course is the Prater Hauptallee. That’s the exactly place, where Eliud Kipchoge famouslyran 1:59:40 back in 2019. It became part of World Athletics Heritage on our initiative in 2022. The Hauptallee is a runner’s paradise, a 4.3 km long alleylined by 2,500 chestnut trees.
Finally the Ringstraße in the city centre. You pass it twice, after 10 km and in the final stages up to the finish in theheart of the city. This is Vienna’s most magnificent boulevard. The State Opera, museums and theatres are located here. Many people will cheer you on.
Starten över bron. Foto: Michael Gruber

And to be a bit nerdy, how many fueling stations do you haveand what kind of sportsdrink do you serve?

There will be Powerade as our sportsdrink, flavour”Mountainblast”, the blue one. We have 8 refreshment stations with water, Powerade and fruits plus 15 water stations along the course. These can also be used to fill up your drinkingsystem, if you use one.

And pacers, which target times?

We had teams of two pacers for 3:30 – 3:45 – 4:00 – 4:15 – 4:30 hours. This might be expanded in 2024. Moreover, there will be official tail runners to accompany and motivate runners at the end of the field until the finish line.

Last year in was sunny and pretty warm from what I could seeon YouTube, how is the weather normally in April?

Yes, it was a sunny day with temperatures up to 21° Celsius but you could still run very good times. Temperature was above average on that day. We mostly move within a range of 14 to 19° and no rain, although it had been warmer or cooler in certain years.

Other than the race, are there any places a first time tourists like me shouldn’t miss?

You pass many of the most impressive classic and modern sights along the marathon course. I would recommend exploring the historic city centre, popping into one of the exhibitions at the Museums Quarter, taking a ride with the Ferris Wheel in the Prater and visiting a Vienna coffee house. You and fellow runners, who are looking for advice, may also contact or Swedish VCM Ambassador. Elisabeth Jedlicka-Eriksson is from Sweden and lives in Vienna. She knows the city and the marathon and is happy to help with any questions in connection with the event.

Ok, thank you for all of the answers and hopefully Ill have good legs coming April.


Stafettlag går i mål. Foto: Roman Pfeiffer
Målgångsrakan. Foto: Leo Hagen


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