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SRAC Runners Meet Top Stars at Vienna Marathons

Ross, Willie, Gerald and Paula Radcliffe

Jim Bruce with Haile Gebrselassie

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One week before the annual hype of the London Marathon SRAC runners wrote another chapter into the very rich history of the club in Austria’s capital city of Vienna. After months of training by everyone and superb organisational preparation by the club’s first European member, Gerald Kalchauer, SRAC had a tremendous Viennese running and cultural experience!

The event planned at the end of last year was a continuation of the “friendship runs” established after SRAC runners have met up with German running friends Ludger Schuren and Gunter Fuchs. The pair met SRAC first in Krakow in 2007 again in Lochaber 2009, the Baltic Coast 2011 and it looks like plans are afoot for Spain 2013! The European connection has continued with Gerald a resident of Linz, Austria joining the club in 2011!

The SRAC runners came into Vienna from many different airports and airlines and after along day travelling all eventually met at the NH Hotel. On arrival excitement grew as it seemed that not only was the hotel the event HQ, but that some of the top runners would be based there! Early the next morning it got way better as a whole host of international running stars moved around the dining area. Quietly sitting in one corner was the man they call the little emperor and sometimes – “the Greatest”, wow! It was Haile Gebrselassie and not a WAG in site! But then over the other shoulder was the women’s marathon world record holder, Paula Radcliffe! What a start to the final day before the race!

On race day the situation of the hotel could not have been any better with baggage trucks to transport your after race clothes to the finish and the start only 400meters up the road! However even with the close proximity to the starting line there was a lesson to be learned, always get there early if you want a good starting place. Something to do with the 36,000 entrants and not all of them in the correct “time pen”! After getting as close as possible to where we were suppose to start the gun sounded and the task of weaving through many runners that should have been in “starting pens” much further back was on.

SRAC and their friends’ had runners taking part in both the half marathon and the full 26.2 version (or 42km) and there was a mix of abilities and ages in both events. Head man, the club chair Tony Robson having arrived only the day before via Bratislava was in no rush and lapped up the crowds support and Viennese scenery round the course. Setting the pace at the other end in the Marathon was Bom MacKay. Bom had unfortunately “blown-up” in his two previous SRAC outing’s, but this time he said his preparation was “spot on” and so it was! Bom’s 3 months of preparation resulted in being first SRAC runner home in the marathon in a fine time of 3hrs 22.40, 985th over all and 96th in his age category (MV50). Also doing the full distance in SRAC red and gold was the unstoppable Spike McIntsosh. Spike some time behind Bom could likely have gone round again just as easily!

In the Half Marathon Willie “den biene” MacRury and Gerald who’d both struggled with injury in the lead up to the race treated the run a s a training run and “played up” to the crowd. The full distance of the course thronged with noisy spectators and they too must have enjoyed the SRAC pair clapping, cheer leading and doing aeroplane wings round every possible corner! But don’t be fooled by their ability as both came over the finish line in just over 1hour 32; Willie 624th and Gerald 557th overall. Jim Bruce almost didn’t start the race as several injuries one after the other wrecked his race preparation. But Jim is not easily deterred, it was after all both a running and cultural trip, so there was no stopping him and he actually finished a good 29th in the MV60 category!

Janetta MacDonald and Ethel McNally had trained together for some time and so ran the entire race together. Not sure how Janetta felt, but she did “pace” Ethel to a time of 2hours 42 which placed the Harris wonder lady second in her age category (LV??), what a run! First over the line in the half for SRAC was Ross Munro (somewhat off form due to one of Vienna’s culinary delights, the Wiener Schnitzel). But the flat course and Scottish weather on the day did contribute to his finish time of 1hour 25 04 resulting in a credible 175th overall and 10th in the MV50 category!

The whole weekend and all the arranged activities by SRAC’s resident Austrian Gerald all came together to make this the club’s best foreign adventure. Running with a club makes running all the more enjoyable and it’s clear that with finishing times ranging from 1hour 25 to 2 hours 42 in the half marathon and 3hours 22 to 5hours 58 in the full marathon that club running can be for everyone!

So come run with SRAC Tuesdays 6pm at the track or 5.30 on a Thursday at the Porters Lodge, Castle grounds, there is also a beginners group every Monday 6 – 7pm meeting at the track.

Alf T.