There will be at least one gold for Paula Radcliffe in 2012. Organisers of the Vienna City Marathon announced yesterday that the marathon world record holder will receive the presitious Goldener Rathausmann award at a special ceremony in the Austrian capital's City Hall - or “Rathaus” - a week on Friday.
A special “Tribute to the Stars” evening is being arranged to honour both Radcliffe and Haile Gebreslassie two days before they compete in the half marathon that is held in conjunction with the city's annual full marathon. Past recipients of the Goldener Rathausmann award have included Gregory Peck, Bill Joel and Pele.
“It's an award made by the Mayor of Vienna and some very prominent people have received it,” Andreas Maier, spokesman for the Vienna City Marathon, said. The Rathausmann is a statue of a medieval knight which stands on top of the central tower of the cathedral-like City Hall. “Paula will receive a small golden version of it,” Maier added.
The 13.1 mile race on Sunday week will be Radcliffe's first of 2012. Since securing Olympic selection with her third-placed finish in the Berlin Marathon last September, she has raced just once, winning a 10km road race in Monaco on 11 December.
The 38-year-old Briton will be taking part in a special “catch me if you can" race within a race in the half marathon in Vienna. She will be given a time advantage ahead of Gebrselassie, the former holder of the men's marathon world record. “We will decide the time difference when Paula and Haile arrive next week,” Maier said.
“It will be the first time we have done this as a head to head. Last year we had a chase between Haile in the half-marathon and the elite runners in the full marathon. They started two minutes ahead of him and he caught them after 11 or 12km.”