Eritrean duo might eye two records at once in Vienna


Eritrean duo Nazret Weldu and Dolshi Tesfu head the current women’s start list of the Vienna City Marathon on 21st April. This was announced by the race organizers. Weldu and Tesfu, who are by some distance the fastest Eritrean women marathon runners in history, may be challenged by Kenyans Shyline Toroitich and Rebecca Tanui. There are hopes that the 41st edition of Austria’s major road race will see an attempt to break the course record, which currently stands at 2:20:59. 


The organizers of the Vienna City Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race, expect to register over 40,000 entries for the 41st edition, including races at shorter distances. Around 10,000 of them will be marathon runners.


It took 19 years until the women’s course record of Italy’s late Maura Viceconte was finally broken in the Austrian capital in 2019. Kenya’s Nancy Kiprop improved the mark to 2:22:12. However, Kiprop’s time lasted much shorter than Viceconte’s. In 2022, fellow Kenyan Vivian Chepkirui clocked 2:20:59.


Nazret Weldu and Dolshi Tesfu have already run faster than Vienna’s course record: 34-year-old Weldu clocked a national record of 2:20:29 when she took a very strong fourth place in the World Championships Marathon in Eugene in 2022. She won the Daegu Marathon in South Korea with 2:21:56 in the same year. Then she placed sixth in Boston in 2023 with 2:23:25. Competing in a hot World Championships’ race in Budapest last summer, Weldu finished eighth with 2:27:23. Despite this series of strong performances, Nazret Weldu still has not achieved the Olympic qualifying standard for Paris. She will want to ensure in Vienna that she runs fast enough to get into the Olympic race.


Dolshi Tesfu features a personal best of 2:20:40. The 24-year-old, who is just 1.56 m tall and weighs as little as 42 kilos, ran this time in her debut marathon when she finished ninth in Valencia in 2022. During the race, Dolshi Tesfu ran the first half in 68:53, which is by far the fastest half-marathon time ever run by an Eritrean woman. Dolshi Tesfu then showed fine performances in her two marathons in 2023 as well: First, she was runner-up in Rotterdam at 2:21:35, and then she finished 10th in a hot World Championships marathon in Budapest in August. She is already qualified for the Olympic marathon.


When Weldu and Tesfu come to Vienna for the first time, they could attack two records in one go: While the course record for the two athletes is 2:20:59, the national record of 2:20:29 would probably be even more significant.


There is an athlete on the start list with a sub-2:20 PB, but at the age of 43, Helalia Johannes is not expected to challenge for victory. The Namibian ran 2:19:52 in 2020 and has held the masters world record since then.


Two Kenyan women could be the primary challengers for Weldu and Tesfu: Shyline Toroitich and Rebecca Tanui know how to win a city marathon. Toroitich took the Enschede Marathon last year with a personal best of 2:22:45, while Tanui was the winner of the San Sebastian Marathon in 2022 with a PB of 2:23:09 and then also won in Venice last autumn. Tanui will have the advantage of knowing the course of the Vienna City Marathon since she was fourth here last year with 2:26:34 in warm weather conditions.


For Andrea Ramirez Limon, the Vienna City Marathon presents the last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games marathon this summer. The Mexican has a personal best of 2:26:34. However, she ran this back in 2020, so it does not count as an Olympic qualifier for Paris. While the qualifying time is 2:26:50, Andrea Ramirez Limon would need a faster time to succeed since the Olympic race will have a limit of 80 starters.


Austria’s record holder Julia Mayer has achieved qualification since she was among the 64 pre-qualified athletes at the end of January with her PB of 2:26:43. She will be among a group of runners who target the Olympic qualifying standard.


For more information, please visit: or contact Andreas Maier (Press Officer):