Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil in New York (© Victah Sailer)
Brazil's 2006 New York Marathon winner Marilson dos Santos leads the Latin American charge for the 2nd IAAF World Road Running Championships, to be held this Sunday (14) in Udine, Italy.
Dos Santos heads a 25-member seven nation contingent from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, among more than 150 competitors who will run on the Udine streets.
Marilson dos Santos, a four-time Pan American Games medallist will use the event as a preparation for his New York title defence in November. The 30-year old has enjoyed a successful season so far, breaking the South American 10,000m record with 27:28.12 in June.
On the roads, he had previously finished fourth at the Lisbon Half Marathon in March, with 1:00:45 on what is a slightly downhill course. Then in April, he improved his marathon best to 2:08:37 to finish eighth in London.
Dos Santos will be joined by Clodoaldo da Silva (1:03:37), Giomar da Silva (1:04:22), João Ferreira de Lima (1:03:53) in the Brazilain line-up.
Aside Brazil, other top men are Mexico's half marathon specialist Juan Carlos Romero and marathoner Francisco Bautista, as well as Colombia's 2003 Pan American Games marathon bronze medallist Diego Colorado and Cuba's Aguelmis Rojas.
In the women's race, Ednalva da Silva is the region's best bet after winning the Rio de Janeiro Half Marathon in early September with 1:12:15, a time that ranks her sixth on the all-time South American lists, exactly one minute slower than the record, set by her countrywoman Silvana Pereira in 1991.
Maria Zeferina Baldaia (1:12:45 in 2001), Marizete dos Santos (1:13:50), Lucélia de Oliveira Peres (1:13:44) complete the Brazilian quartet.
Colombia's Bertha Sánchez (1:13:11 in 2005) and Cuba's 2007 Pan American Games marathon champion Mariela Gonzalez are also expect to produce a fine run in Udine, while Mexico's chances are centered on Paula Apolonio and Karina Pérez.
Latin America's other representatives will be Colombia's Giovanni Amador, Edwin Romero, Lina Arias, Martha Ines Ronceria, Costa Rica's José Francisco Chaves, Uruguay's Marisol Redón and Venezuela's Robert Lugo and Norelys Lugo.
In 2006 in Debrecen, the number of Latin Americans was smaller, and the best placed runners, Mexico's Juan Gualberto Vargas (37th) and Brazil's Maria Cristina Rodrigues (45th) finished very distant from the winners Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea and Lornah Kiplagat of The Netherlands.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
'Udine 2007' FACTS & FIGURES (pdf format)- Statistics concerning previous editions of the IAAF World Half Marathon Champs (1992 - 2005) and IAAF World Road Running Champs (2006)