Gebrselassie to give Radcliffe a start in Vienna's OMV half marathon
Thursday, 15 March 2012
March 15 - Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie (pictured), the former marathon world record holder, will race against the women's world record holder, Paula Radcliffe, in Vienna on April 15 in the OMV Champions Race over the half -marathon distance.
Radcliffe, who had been announced earlier as a competitor in the event, which runs in conjunction with the Vienna City Marathon, will now start the race on her own with a time advantage over the rest of the field, who will be led off by Ethiopia's multiple Olympic and world champion.
The time advantage for the lone Briton will be determined nearer to the date of a race which will finish on the famous Wiener Heldenplatz – Vienna's Hero Square.
After the disappointing result in the Tokyo Marathon, where Gebrselassie finished fourth with 2 hours 08min 17sec 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 decided to go ahead as planned.
So the half -arathon will now be his next race – and this should be an experience he will enjoy once more.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to present our spectators a race of which you could only dream of," said a delighted Wolfgang Konrad, race director of the Vienna City Marathon.
"Haile running against Paula – two inspiring personalities and may be the two best runners of all times up against each other – this is something unique in the world of road running."
The event will feature a total of more than 33,000 runners and entries are still possible for both the marathon and the half marathon, which are IAAF Gold Label Road Races.
Gebrselassie won the half marathon in Vienna last year with a course record of 60min 18se and received a tremendous reception by the spectators, politicians from the city and even the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, who invited the double Olympic 10,000 metres champion for a reception.
February 2012: Tokyo Olympic dreams boosted by marathon as Gebrselassie's hopes fade
September 2011: Kenyan sets world record in Berlin Marathon as Gebrselassie drops out
September 2011: For Gebrselassie making it to London 2012 is more important than winning Berlin Marathon
November 2010: Mike Rowbottom - Knowing when to quit is the hardest thing to do
November 2010: Gebrselassie reverses decision to retire and will run at London 2012