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Corrida de rua 21/05/2024

Vienna City Marathon makes every runner feel unique

Por By Andrei Spinassé, Editor at Esportividade

Andrei feels thrilled after crossing the 2024 Vienna City Marathon finish line (Sportograf)

Does taking part in a marathon in a country far away from Brazil, such as Austria, on another continent, such as Europe, make runners feel like outsiders? Surprisingly, runners in the Vienna City Marathon have a more personal experience than many road-running events in Brazil. Despite competing with people from the “four corners of the world,” everyone felt appreciated, unique, and welcomed, thanks to the organizers (VCM Group). At the 41st edition of the Vienna City Marathon, held on April 20-21, 2024, Brazil was one of the countries that received the most attention, with the famous “Brazil-zil-zil” soundtrack played for Brazilian runners on the final stretch.

Runners feeling excited before the Vienna City Marathon (Esportividade)

Considering the 42,625 participants (10,024 for the marathon) from 143 countries, including the races on Saturday (5 km, Coca-Cola Inclusion Run, and children’s race) and Sunday (42.195 km, 21.097 km, and a relay marathon), the VCM organizers made sure the event in 2024 was genuinely international: the announcements before the start of the race on Sunday were made in two languages, English and German, and the announcer mentioned the top ten countries with the largest number of representatives in the event – playing a song from each of them.

The first kilometer of the Vienna City Marathon has St. Francis of Assisi Church in the landscape (Esportividade)

Right at the beginning of the race, I knew I was not alone: in the first kilometer, I dropped my carb gel sachet, and a runner warned me about it. Luckily, I had taken an extra one. That was the first sign that, even away from home, I was going to feel appreciated on that cold morning, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 8ºC (41 to 46ºF).

As I entered the historic, flat, tree-lined Hauptallee in Prater Park, I could feel the “human warmth” of the fans. And I remembered that in that same place, in 2019, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run the 42.195 km marathon in under two hours, an unofficial record that has not been broken. Prater Hauptallee is a world athletics heritage site, as running events have been held there since 1822 for two centuries.

The athlete’s name is highlighted on the Vienna City Marathon bib number (Esportividade)

Amazingly, it seemed like viewers knew who I was. That is because the name of each amateur athlete was printed in a much larger font compared to the number on their bib. This way, viewers felt close to runners – I heard my name at least half a dozen times.

Viewers supporting Andrei during the Vienna City Marathon (Esportividade)

Even those runners who traveled alone to Austria didn’t feel alone. A crowd was there to watch the race throughout the streets of Vienna, and many of them, especially children, held out their hands for an actual touch of support.

A reference to the Super Mario game to give marathon runners “energy” (Esportividade)

Some viewers prepared posters for runners, with some of them containing jokes like “Smile, you paid for it.” Brazilian flags and Brazilian national soccer team jerseys were also seen among viewers who were there to encourage the 26 Brazilians who completed the marathon and the 39 who finished the half-marathon.

Andrei points to a video shot by Renata, which he saw at the Vienna City Marathon (Esportividade)

In the second half of the race, inside Prater Park, I had the chance to watch a video that reporter Renata Sá had shot for me when we were in Stuttgart, Germany, the week before. That was an extraordinary moment for me. On the Vienna City Marathon website, friends and relatives of the participants could send in a video of up to ten seconds. If the runner were lucky enough to pass through the sensor when the footage was changing on the big screen, they would have the video shown at the moment of their passage. And I was that lucky! Renata’s message motivated me, but that wasn’t the only time the technology was on my side in Vienna.

In the last few meters of the marathon, technology also helped the announcer notice me, and he then spoke my name and mentioned Brazil. And in the meantime, the DJ played the famous “Brazil-zil-zil” track for everyone to hear when I crossed the finish line. Although it wasn’t my best marathon in terms of performance, I couldn’t have felt better!

One of the most beautiful sections of the Vienna City Marathon (Esportividade)

Through the Vienna City Marathon, runners get to know the architectural wonders of the Austrian capital, famous for its classical music. The bib number pick-up, the race start, and the finish happen in three locations, but participants can use public transport to reach each one. The fact that the second half of the marathon occurs on a flat surface helps runners break personal records. That wasn’t the case for me, but Vienna gave me much more than a number. Also, on the Wednesday after the race, I received a free personalized video by email with scenes of me crossing the finish line!

I ran the Vienna City Marathon wearing Nike Vaporfly 3 (review) and sports sunglasses provided by Opticalia. Time: 3h52min50s.

Find out how the 5 km race went on Saturday (20);
Viewers and the city cheer for runners in the 5 km of the Vienna City Marathon, Austria

Andrei ran the Vienna City Marathon wearing Nike Vaporfly 3 (Sportograf)

The coverage of the Austrian marathon is part of a series of three events that Esportividade is participating in Europe in April and May 2024. The other events will be the Copenhagen Marathon in Denmark on May 5 and the ING Night Marathon in Luxembourg on Saturday, May 11.

In all three marathons, Esportividade has the support of VCM Group, Sparta, and Step by Step organizing companies. The coverage of the Copenhagen Marathon, sponsored by Nike, will also be supported by the Royal Danish Embassy. Andrei and Renata prepared for the challenge in partnership with ClassPass. The sports guide is also supported by Opticalia, a Spanish eyewear brand that recently came to Brazil and wants to revolutionize the sunglass market.

This season, the sports guide shows how runners from the “four corners of the world” come together in marathons. Regardless of the athlete’s place of origin, running is the element that connects them, and one encourages the other.

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