Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto might have failed to finish his race during the Vienna Marathon on Sunday, but he had the pleasure of been hosted by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the Austrian Federal Palace on Monday.
Morocco’s Salaheddine Bounasser was the surprise winner of race as Kimetto’s calf injury frustration continued as he failed to finish.
Bounasser won in 2 hours, 09 minutes and 29 seconds, as Kenya’s Ishmael Bushendich finished second in 2:10:03, followed by his fellow Kenyan Samwel Maswai in third.
Kimetto was clearly limping as he lost touch with the leading pack around halfway through the race and he dropped out after 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Kenya’s Nancy Kiprop successfully defended her title winning the women’s race in a personal best of 2:24:18, two seconds faster than last year.
Melesech Tsegaye of Ethiopia finished second in 2:29:51 and Celestine Chepchirchir of Kenya was another 48 seconds behind in third.
However, Kimetto went to the Imperial Palace a happy man after his marathon World record time of 2:02:57 set in Berlin 2014, stayed intact despite the ferocious attack at London Marathon on Sunday.
Kimetto was hoping to rekindle his career in Vienna after a series of injury frustrations.
“I was in great shape and my body was feeling okay when I started the race,” said Kimetto.
“Things started falling apart after the halfway mark when the calf injury recurred.”
Kimetto said he will return to Kenya to treat the injury before making another comeback.
“I still have high hopes and I intend to come back stronger,” Kimetto told Olaf Brockmann, a member of the IAAF Media Committee.
The 34-year-old Kimetto has not finished a marathon since London in 2016.
Brockmann said the Austrian President was glad to have hosted Kimetto, Kiprop and the rest of top performers from the marathon.
The athletes had the privilege of touring the Federal Palace as they took photos of the place besides the chat with their host.