Associated Press / By Eric Willemsen
VIENNA — Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia dominated the Vienna City Marathon Sunday, running on his own for the last 15 kilometers after other pre-race favorites struggled with the wind and injuries.
Lemma surged ahead of the leading group after the final pacemaker had left the race and finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 31 seconds, missing out by 25 seconds on his personal best he set in Doha in January.
“I had to go and run alone because they were not running for me,” Lemma said about the pacesetters, who weren’t fast enough to help reach a target time of 2:06:35.
Despite fierce head winds on the final section, Lemma clocked the third-fastest time in the 32-year history of the event and comfortably beat second-placed Duncan Koech of Kenya by 4:43. Siraj Gena of Ethiopia was another 34 seconds back in third.
“I am very happy to win this marathon. I’ve come here for the first time,” Lemma said. “The people were very good. They said ‘hop, hop’ all the time and they pushed me to run harder.”
It was Lemma’s third marathon victory after winning in Carpi in 2012 and Warsaw the following year.
Getu Feleke of Ethiopia, who set a course record while winning here last year, quit the race after 50 minutes with an apparent right thigh injury.
Feleke was part of a leading group of five, which quickly reduced to three as Beraki Beyene of Eritrea fell behind shortly after Feleke pulled out.