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
- 2021 date: September 12
- See also: Events in Vienna
The event and its route
(One of the sights on the marathon route)
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 in 2019).
As such, the Vienna marathon attracts competitors from all over the world, including top-class athletes with Olympic experience.
The race usually 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 marathon skipped 2020, but the 2019 event saw a new record for Austrian men set by Lemawork Ketema. He 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 in 2019 of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 12 seconds.
Needless to say, the Vienna marathon is not just about a single race. Several ancillary races take place throughout the weekend, for example, as do related events. These typically include:
- The Vienna Sports World expo
- A half marathon and relay marathon
- 10k, 5k (youth) and 2k (kids) races
- A charity run
(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 2021 marathon looks set for Sunday September 12th. In normal times, the marathon takes place in April. The organisers shifted to an autumn date in 2021 to increase the chances that such a huge event can take place in a world likely still subject to some pandemic-related public health measures.
The main race, half-marathon and relay marathon commonly take place on the Sunday, beginning at 9am, while the other races tend to take place on the day before (i.e. Saturday). The marathon proper usually “ends” at 3pm, after which the entire course reopens to normal traffic.
Where to see the Vienna marathon
The organisers normally 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.