Each year, thousands of people take part in the various races falling under the umbrella of the Vienna marathon. And those of us with a little less energy get to watch.
- Major international marathon with a top-class field
- Plenty of ancillary races and events, too
- Main race is on April 19, 2020
- See also: Events in Vienna
The event and its route
(One of the sights on the marathon route)
Now in its 37th year, the Vienna marathon attracts competitors from all over the world, including top-class athletes with Olympic experience. The city occupies a prestigious place in the running world, not least because Vienna hosted Eliud Kipchoge’s successful attempt to became the first human to break the two hour mark for the marathon distance (at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge).
The race begins at the United Nations building before crossing over the Danube towards the city centre, where the route takes participants on a tour of some of Vienna’s main historical sights. For example:
- The Prater with the Riesenrad and national stadium
- The Stadtpark and around the Ring boulevard to, for example, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum, Hofburg Palace, Rathaus (and finish line), etc.
- Schönbrunn Palace
Think of it as a sightseeing bus tour without the bus.
The 2019 event saw a new marathon record for Austrian men set by Lemawork Ketema, who completed the course in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 44 seconds. Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba won the actual race.
Nancy Kiprop set a new women’s record for the course of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 12 seconds.
Needless to say, the Vienna marathon is not just about a single race; there are several ancillary races throughout the weekend and related events. Already announced for 2020, for example, are:
- The Vienna Sports World expo
- The Carbo Loading Party at the Rathaus
- A half marathon and relay marathon
- 10k, 5k (youth) and 2k (kids) races
- The Coca-Cola inclusion run in aid of the Special Olympics
(The absence of a 100m walking event means I am, sadly, unable to participate.)
For full details on competing, routes, locations, etc., see the official website.
The marathon race weekend is April 18th and 19th, 2020, with the expo and registration desk open on the 17th and 18th in Vienna’s Marx Halle.
The main race, half-marathon and relay marathon take place on the Sunday, beginning at 9am, while the other races take place on the Saturday. The marathon proper usually “ends” at 3pm, after which the entire course is reopened to normal traffic.
Where to see the Vienna marathon
The organisers usually provide a nice little overview of where and when to see the runners, complete with suggestions on how to get to the viewing spots. Look out for that at the website.