The Austrian capital of Vienna (Wien in German) is famous for many classics: Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Schönbrunn Palace, to name a few. Added to this list is the more modern Vienna City Marathon that celebrated its 34th iteration on April 23, 2017.
This year’s mega marathon attracted the 42,000 runners from 130 countries with a beautiful course, fantastic race support, and the bling, the finisher’s medal with Swarovski crystal inlay.
Richard and I took the 7:00 AM Austrian Airlines flight from Brussels to Vienna on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The flight was an hour and 45 minutes; we were waiting for our train at the arrivals terminal a little after 9:00 AM.
I have read so much about the beauty and sights of the city that I had to prioritize what we can see during the short weekend. I could not wait to get started! We dropped off our luggage at our hotel K+K Hotel Maria Theresia and we were off again.
Our first stop was Karlskirche or St. Charles’ Cathedral. The Roman Catholic Church is famous for its baroque architecture.
Next stop was the Domskirche St. Stephan or St. Stephan’s Cathedral. This is the iconic church with the blue dome that we see in city postcards. The city’s most famous church is in the middle of the historic city center that was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We paused for a quick brunch at Cafe L’Europe.
We took the train to Schönbrunn Palace next. The palace is so big that we just took photos of the grounds and did not see the inside. We just did not have enough time. I did notice that the city encourages its citizens and visitors to hydrate, with water fountains by the train station to the palace.
From the palace, we hopped on the subway to visit the race expo in Messe Wien to pick up my bib.
I signed up for the race and added the carbo-loading option. It was probably the most elegant carbo loading party we have ever attended. The event was held at the banqueting hall of Vienna’s city hall. We got on line U2, got off at the Rathaus stop and used the Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz exit.
A rotating list of performers playing live classical music set against a backdrop of dramatic chandeliers, gilded walls, and statues of Vienna’s important people gave the event an elegant surreal feel.
We made our way back to the hotel for an early night.
We woke up early for breakfast and took the subway to the Vienna International Centre for the start of the race.
The start area was packed with marathoners and half-marathoners.
There were many sights to see along the course. The temperate was cool enough for me to wear a vest and wool buff. At some point in the marathon we separated from the half marathoners
The volunteers were all excited to see us and very encouraging. There was also entertainment at various points.
Richard took a photo of this beauty on display at the finish area.
He also took some photos of the public art.
The race ended in front of Rathausplatz. As I passed through the finish chute, volunteers were handing out apples, bananas, sports, drink, water, and a disposable raincoat. What I really looked forward to receiving was the finisher bling – a beautiful asymmetrical star with a Swarovski crystal inlay!
I cleaned up back at the hotel and made our way to the airport for our 6:10 PM flight.