Murdo Macleod took part in the 25th running of the Vienna City Marathon and reports:
“Fancied a spring marathon as something to aim for and after looking through the various options, finally settled for Vienna. Never been there but had heard good things about the City.
Entry was straight forward, online at €53 plus another €20 for a technical t-shirt. You’re then sent emailed regular update newsletters. Seems about normal for City marathons. There is also a comprehensive website at www.vienna-marathon.com which has all the details you need (in English). As you can’t get there direct from Edinburgh, we flew via Frankfurt with Lufthansa – no problems – out early Thursday, back late Monday so made a nice break of it.
You pick up the registration pack at the Expo at a large exhibition hall near the Prater Park, well organised, lots of running stalls (clothes, shoes, supplements etc) as well as stalls promoting various other races. Got a lot of leaflets if anyone’s interested. Picked up the pack including t-shirt (very nice and good quality), you can use your own chip (seemed the norm) or hire one (€3) for the event. You got a goody bag at registration which is one of the best I’ve ever seen; water, Ariel washing powder, spaghetti, cereals, sweets, bath gel, CD, hat (sponsored by OFID), plasters etc etc. You also got another one with various bars, banana, water, energy drink, shampoo, shower gel etc when you finished! Nice bar and cafe made it an enjoyable few hours.
Spent the next couple of days sightseeing, lovely clean historic city and well worth a visit.
The race starts in the UNO business district on the other side of the Danube, easily reached by underground, plenty of trains and at that time in the morning, only runners about. The race starts beside the station, plenty of toilets and the road is segmented into anticipated finish times (corresponding to a colour coded patch on your number). Not crowded or too long to wait. You were also given a bag with your number which you could leave on Lorries and retrieve at the end. Good for change of clothing etc. Used it, worked well.
The race starts across the bridge across the Danube, great start, before turning into the Prater Park for a long section. The remainder was either in parks or on picturesque streets running past most of the city’s principal buildings to a spectacular finish at Heldenplatz where you run through the arches with the last 100m on grass laid for a football game the night before (Austria are co-hosting Euro 2008). There was a surprising amount of very vocal support out on the street, understandably less so in the parks, and with a lot of (close) support for the last km including stands on the final bit, made for an exhilarating finish. Picked up my goody bag and luggage bag, dropped off chip and met up in the runner’s village for a pint afterwards.
The race isn’t that big; there are about 7,900 in the marathon, 8,700 in the half marathon (starts and run at the same time, they just peel off at 13 miles), 8,200 in the relay with the remainder being kids doing various junior runs, about 29,000 in total. Feels like a big race though and the support and organisation help to make it punch above its weight. The race is very scenic and changes from different streets, avenues, bridges and parks with plenty points of interest.
It was hot on the day, cloudless and apparently about 20degrees although it felt hotter, cool breeze was welcome. Water stops at least every 5km, sometimes 3kms with fruit and iso drinks available after 15kms. Lots of toilets on the way, in singles, not groups which seemed to work better. I got burnt, but really enjoyed the event. Finished in 4.02 which I’m happy with given my fitness level; ran out of steam in the last 5km – no problems otherwise. I’ve attached some photos below. Highly recommended, my current favourite (until the next one!):”