Vienna Marathon Winner Disqualified for Wearing Banned Shoes

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The Ethiopian winner of Europe’s first big-city marathon since the pandemic was disqualified by race organizers for wearing shoes with soles thicker than permitted. 

Derara Hurisa crossed the line in the Vienna City Marathon in 2:09:22 on a warm early autumn morning, beating Kenyan Leonard Langat by three seconds.

About an hour later, race officials tweeted that Hurisa was “disqualified for wearing shoes which are not compliant with the rules.”

“The sole of road running shoes has to be no thicker than four centimeters. Hurisa was running with a model that has a sole thickness of five centimeters,” the officials said. 

That gave the victory to Langat, with Ethiopian Betesfa Getahun moving to second from third. 

Images suggest Hurisa was wearing the Adidas Adizero Prime X shoe, with Langat sporting the Adizero Adios Pro 2 model. 

Adidas spokespeople weren’t available for comment outside of regular business hours. Elite runners’ gear is typically checked by officials a day or more before a race. 

Cutting-edge running shoe technology has been part of a years-long effort to improve times.  

Nike Inc. was the first to add a carbon plate to the sole of its running sneakers, with competitors following. 

Eliud Kipchoge ran the world’s only sub-two-hour marathon on a closed course in Vienna in 2019, in carbon-plated Nike shoes. Kipchoge’s time of 1:59:40 shaved almost two minutes off his official world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin marathon. 

In January 2020 World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, prohibited from competition any running shoe with a sole thicker than 40 mm or that contains more than one plate. The banned models can still be used for training and by athletes not considered elite. 

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