Vienna City Marathon – Austrian “Masked Singer” Claims Impossible Result


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Austrian Newspaper Heute reported that James Cottriall ran The Vienna City Marathon in 2:56:46 on less than 6 hours sleep after promoting his new album, “Let’s Talk” the day before.

Cottriall first hit the charts in Austria in 2010. Recently he appeared as “Falke” on Austria’s version of The Masked Singer.

Cottriall as ‘Falke’ The Masked Singer – Australia

Vienna City Marathon

Cottriall’s time of 02:56:49 was a big personal record. In 2019, Cottriall ran Vienna in 4:03:51 and The Los Angeles Marathon in 3:55:04.

The significant Personal Record is eyebrow raising. Looking at Strava, however, he has runs that would indicate that this time is at least reasonable. James finished the 2021 Leopoldilauf Half Marathon in 1:21:54. His Strava validates the result. He also finished the Linz Half Marathon in 1:22:22.

Of all his Strava entries, I only found one that was entered manually – The Vienna City Marathon.

His offcial splits show that he missed the 33k timing mat. This mat is placed on a short out and back section of the course.

The highlighted split shows an estimated time. Calculating his pace between the 30km and 35km timing mats would indicate a 5k time of 9 minutes and 31 seconds, a pace of 3:05 per mile. The World record for a single mile is 3:43:14.

It is clear that he cut the course short and did not complete the out and back section indicated on the map.

I am unsure the motivation. James would have run a fast time and still shattered his personal best for the marathon even without cutting this small section.

This wasn’t simply a case of hitting the wall and cutting a race short. While he was slowing a bit, he certainly would have been able to finish the race. He proudly claimed the medal, was featured in the aforementioned article and interviewed on an Austrian morning show. He posted proudly of his 75th overall place.

James may be capable of a sub 3 hour marathon. It is a shame that he chose to cut the course instead of making another attempt to legitimately break three hours.

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  1. Yeah, this one leaves me baffled. If he didn’t cut the turn he probably finishes under 3:15 which is a very respectable time. If not looking for a BQ, maybe he wanted a London qualifier? It’s really difficult to pinpoint his motivation.

  2. Steve: I haddent looked at London Qualification times my fist thought was he finished waay to slow, but I think you are right, he just had to do the sub 3 hours. I thought it was 2:45 like Berlin.

    At least Vienna City Marathon has all those mats, so many races don’t have any or just one.

    5k in 9 minutes and 31 seconds…

  3. He has made a statement on his Instagram. Couple of notes from it:

    -In it he claims he deleted the GPS result from Strava because it overestimated the course and therefore gave him an overly generous marathon pb according to GPS. However, he still has half marathon entries that do exactly this that he hasn’t deleted.

    -alongside claiming that he deleted the GPS because of this, he also claims that his watch ran out of battery in the day due to him listening to music, when presumably only one of these could be true.

    -he says that there were many runners pictured around him at around 30km who also completed in very similar times to him. This would mean that they also ran the first 30k at 4:18/km and the last 12km at 3:56/km (although very slight discrepancies according to when they crossed the starting mat would be likely). Firstly, this type of negative split in a marathon is astoundingly rare, and secondly he won’t publish the picture of these people around him to protect their anonymity – when he regularly publishes photos from races with others pictured (although these are different circumstances).

    -he mentions that he was next planning to run a marathon in October 2022. I imagine this will be London, for which he could have used this result to get a GFA place.

    I honestly want to believe him, but he’s making it very difficult.

  4. Hi Derek,

    Just a note that this article is currently showing as uncategorized, not sure if you intended that but I’m aware a “marathon” tag exists!

  5. Just to add – whilst claiming his watch ran out of battery, he also claimed to have deleted it – when replying to the comment of a friend on his original VCM instagram post in September he said “Strava was 1/1 accurate from km 1-13 but then it was getting more and more generous! According to strava I was five minutes faster so I just deleted it!”.

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