Sefir to challenge Kimetto in Vienna

Dino Sefir winning the 2016 Ottawa Marathon (Bruce Wodder/Photo Run)

World record holder Dennis Kimetto will face some strong challengers at the 35th Vienna City Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on 22 April.

The Kenyan, who set the world record in 2014 with a blazing 2:02:57 run in Berlin, is hoping to make a successful comeback in Vienna after a series of injury setbacks. Among his rivals in Austria’s biggest one-day sporting event are Ethiopian Dino Sefir and Ishmael Bushendich of Kenya, who missed out on victory in last year’s race by just two seconds. Seven runners on the start list feature personal bests of under 2:10.

Sefir is the next fastest man in the field after the the world record holder. The 29-year-old smashed his PB at the 2012 Dubai Marathon where he clocked 2:04:50, finishing second. A year earlier he had improved significantly in the half marathon when he clocked 59:42. While he hasn’t matched those time in recent years, he has been consistent in the 2:08-2:09 range, collecting victories in Barcelona and Ottawa two years ago. More recently he was eighth in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

One year ago, Bushendich was involved in the closest race ever in the history of the Vienna City Marathon, crossing just behind fellow Kenyan Albert Korir in 2:08:42. While he knows the course well, he’ll return with added confidence after taking the Lisbon Marathon last autumn with 2:10:51. The 26-year-old has already won five marathons during his career: Enschede and La Rochelle in 2012, Ljubljana in 2014, Toronto in 2015 and Lisbon last October.

Another contender with a marathon victory under his belt is Abrah Milaw. The 30year-old Ethiopian, who has a 2:07:46 from the 2014 Dubai Marathon, won the Stockholm Marathon last year in 2:11:36.

Others expected to contend include Samwel Maswai, who made his debut marathon in Vienna in 2009 and then improved to 2:08:52 in Berlin four years later. Meanwhile, Dominic Ruto and Birhanu Addisie will be making their debuts on the streets of the Austrian capital. Ruto has a 2:09:08 best from the 2017 Rome Marathon while Addisie brings a best of 2:09:27 set in Rome two years ago, beating Rutu by just one second.