Saint Silvester Road Race


Saint Silvester Road Race

The Saint Silvester Road Race (official name in Portuguese: Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre) is a long-distance running event, the oldest and most prestigious street race in Brazil.

Regarded as the main international event in Latin American athletics, the Brazilian competition is held yearly in the city of São Paulo on December 31. This day is Saint Silvester's Day, as it is the day in which the Catholic saint, who was a Pope, died in the 4th century of the Christian Era.

São Paulo's race was originally known as a "marathon", although the course of the race, whose length has varied considerably over the years, was never that of a full marathon. Because of that, the organization eventually dropped the term "marathon", starting to refer to the event as a "race", "international race" or "road race". There was never an official effort on the part of the organization to address the change in the nomenclature, which causes many, including some media outlets,[1] to continue using the term "Saint Silvester Marathon" when referring to the event. Its course is only 15 km (9.3 mi) long, less than half the length of a marathon but the race is made more difficult by the intense heat of the Brazilian summer and the geographical obstacles that have to be surmounted by the athletes.

Several other places like Amadora and Porto in Portugal (Corrida de São Silvestre[2]), Calderara di Reno (Maratona di San Silvestro[3]) and Bolzano (BOclassic) in Italy, and Madrid in Spain (San Silvestre Vallecana), organize yearly Saint Silvester road races or marathons every late December.

Contents

History

Cásper Líbero, a "media millionaire" of the early 20th century Brazil, is credited with originally coming up with the idea for the race. He used it as a means of promoting his newspaper. In 1928, the year of the race's 4th edition, he founded one of the first sports newspapers of the country, the Gazeta Esportiva (the Sportive Gazette), which then became the race's official organizer and sponsor. The race would be the main advertising element of this sports newspaper.

The race was held for the first time on December 31, 1925. Unlike most events as old or older, it has not been interrupted or suspended even once during its history, not even for the duration of World War II.

Originally, it was intended for men only, and participation was restricted to citizens of the city of São Paulo. In the following years, runners from other parts of the country joined the race, but it was not until 1941 that a runner not from the city of São Paulo won the race: José Tibúrcio dos Santos, of Minas Gerais, another Brazilian state. At that time, the event was not yet open to foreign participation. That meant that athletes from other countries could not come in to participate, but foreigners residing in the city of São Paulo (immigrants) were free to enroll. Because of this, Italian Heitor Blasi was the only foreigner to have won the race before 1947.

In 1945 the field was opened so that foreign runners could participate. The first international race was restricted to invited runners from South America, but the success of the first two "international events" led race organizers to open the event to the rest of the world in 1947. That year marked the beginning of a 34-year-long period during which no Brazilian man won the event, until José João da Silva, from Pernambuco, won in 1980 (he would repeat the feat in 1985).

The event would remain a men-only affair until 1975, when the United Nations declared that year as the International Year of Women. In commemoration of this, the race organizers held the women's race for the first time. The women's race started as an open event, and the first Brazilian victory would come only in its 20th edition (in 1995), when Carmem Oliveira won.

Since 1993, a shorter race for children is held a few days before the main event (dubbed "São Silvestrinha", or "Little Saint Silvester" – a unisex event).

Until 1988, the race took place at night, approaching the New Year's, but the year of 1989 saw substantial changes in the race's format, in order to comply with the rules of the IAAF. The time of the race was altered (to 3:00 p.m. for women and 5:00 p.m. for men), the course direction was reversed, and men and women, who used to run together, had their races separated. In 1991, the length of the race was extended to 15,000 meters (the distance for the event used to vary almost yearly, usually between 6.5 km and 8.8 km). This variance needed to be corrected in order to meet the requirements of the Federation of Athletics. The race was recognized internationally in that year of 1989.

Growth and prestige

For the first race, in 1925, 60 people filled applications to participate, but only 48 actually showed up on the day of the race. Of these, only 37 were officially qualified, since the rules then required that all runners had to finish within 3 minutes of the winner in order to qualify in the final board.

In 2004, 13,000 men and 2,000 women participated in their respective events.

Although the event had been open since 1945, it would become a noteworthy affair in the international calendar only in 1953, when the most famous runner of the time (and arguably of all time), Emil Zátopek, participated and won the race. In recent times, the foremost long distance runners of the last two decades (almost all of them, with the exception of Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia) have participated at least once in the event.

The principal winner of all times is now Paul Tergat, of Kenya, who has won the race 5 times (1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000). He also holds the record time for the present distance of 15 km, having won his very first race in São Paulo with a time of 43 minutes and 12 seconds.

Champions

Men

National era
Year Athlete Country Time (m:s) Distance
1925 Alfredo Gomes  Brazil 33:21 8.8 km
1926 Jorge Mancebo  Brazil 22:35.3 6.2 km
1927 Heitor Blasi  Italy 23:00 6.2 km
1928 Salim Maluf  Brazil 29:11.2 6.2 km
1929 Heitor Blasi  Italy 28:39.2 8.8 km
1930 Murilo de Araújo  Brazil 25:35.2 8.8 km
1931 José Agnello  Brazil 26:05.3 8.8 km
1932 Nestor Gomes  Brazil 25:23.02 8.8 km
1933 Nestor Gomes  Brazil 23:50.06 8.8 km
1934 Alfredo Carletti  Brazil 24:10.2 7.6 km
1935 Nestor Gomes  Brazil N/A 7.6 km
1936 Mario de Oliveira  Brazil 23:38.04 7.6 km
1937 Mario de Oliveira  Brazil N/A 7.6 km
1938 Armando Martins  Brazil 23:38.4 7.6 km
1939 Luiz Del Greco  Brazil 24:50.4 7.5 km
1940 Antônio Alves  Brazil 22:14 7 km
1941 José Tibúrcio dos Santos  Brazil 22:12 7 km
1942 Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva  Brazil 17:02.06 5.5 km
1943 Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva  Brazil N/A 5.5 km
1944 Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva  Brazil 17:40.02 5.5 km
International era
Year Athlete Country Time (m:s) Distance
1945 Sebastião Alves Monteiro  Brazil 21:54 7 km
1946 Sebastião Alves Monteiro  Brazil 21:57 7 km
1947 Oscar Moreira  Uruguay 21:45 7 km
1948 Raul Inostroza  Chile 22:18.2 7 km
1949 Viljo Heino  Finland 22:45 7.3 km
1950 Lucien Theys  Belgium 22:37.8 7.3 km
1951 Erich Kruzicky  West Germany 22:26.5 7.3 km
1952 Franjo Mihalić  Yugoslavia 21:38 7.3 km
1953 Emil Zátopek  Czechoslovakia 20:30 7.3 km
1954 Franjo Mihalic  Yugoslavia 23:00 7.3 km
1955 Kenneth Norris  United Kingdom 22:18 7.4 km
1956 Manoel Faria  Portugal 21:58.9 7.4 km
1957 Manoel Faria  Portugal 21:37.4 7.4 km
1958 Osvaldo Suarez  Argentina 21:40.3 7.4 km
1959 Osvaldo Suarez  Argentina 21:55.8 7.4 km
1960 Osvaldo Suarez  Argentina 22:2.1 7.4 km
1961 Martin Hyman  United Kingdom 21:24.7 7.4 km
1962 Hamoud Ameur  France 22:08.5 7.4 km
1963 Henry Clerckx  Belgium N/A 7.4 km
1964 Gaston Roelants  Belgium 21:37.7 7.4 km
1965 Gaston Roelants  Belgium 21:20.1 7.4 km
1966 Alvaro Mejia Flores  Colombia 29:57.7 9.2 km
1967 Gaston Roelants  Belgium 24:55 8.7 km
1968 Gaston Roelants  Belgium 24:32 8.7 km
1969 Juan Martínez  Mexico 24:02.3 8.7 km
1970 Frank Shorter  United States 24:27.4 8.9 km
1971 Rafael Tadeo Palomares  Mexico 23:47.8 8.7 km
1972 Victor Mora  Colombia 23:24.2 8.7 km
1973 Victor Mora  Colombia 23:25 8.7 km
1974 Rafael Angel Perez  Costa Rica 23:58 8.9 km
1975 Victor Mora  Colombia 23:13 8.9 km
1976 Edmundo Warnke  Chile 23:50.8 8.9 km
1977 Domingo Tibaduiza  Colombia 23:55 8.9 km
1978 Radhouane Bouster  France 23:51.6 8.9 km
1979 Herb Lindsay  United States 23:26.5 8.9 km
1980 José João da Silva  Brazil 23:40 8.9 km
1981 Victor Mora  Colombia 23:30.2 8.9 km
1982 Carlos Lopes  Portugal 39:41.05 13.548 km
1983 João da Mata  Brazil 37:39.19 12.6 km
1984 Carlos Lopes  Portugal 36:43.79 12.6 km
1985 José João da Silva  Brazil N/A 12.6 km
1986 Rolando Vera  Ecuador 36:45 12.640 km
1987 Rolando Vera  Ecuador 39:02.56 13.040 km
1988 Rolando Vera  Ecuador 36:23 13.040 km
1989 Rolando Vera  Ecuador 36:45 13.040 km
1990 Arturo Barrios  Mexico 35:57 12.640 km
1991 Arturo Barrios  Mexico 44:47 15 km
1992 Simon Chemwoyo  Kenya 44:08 15 km
1993 Simon Chemwoyo  Kenya 43:20 15 km
1994 Ronaldo da Costa  Brazil 44:11 15 km
1995 Paul Tergat  Kenya 43:12 15 km
1996 Paul Tergat  Kenya N/A 15 km
1997 Émerson Iser Bem  Brazil 44:40 15 km
1998 Paul Tergat  Kenya 44:47 15 km
1999 Paul Tergat  Kenya 44:35 15 km
2000 Paul Tergat  Kenya 43:57 15 km
2001 Tesfaye Jifar  Ethiopia 44:15 15 km
2002 Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot  Kenya 44:59 15 km
2003 Marílson Gomes dos Santos  Brazil 43:50 15 km
2004 Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot  Kenya 44:43 15 km
2005 Marílson Gomes dos Santos  Brazil 44:21 15 km
2006 Franck Caldeira  Brazil 44:06 15 km
2007 Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot  Kenya 45:57 15 km
2008 James Kipsang Kwambai  Kenya 44:42 15 km
2009 James Kipsang Kwambai  Kenya 44:40 15 
2010 Marílson Gomes dos Santos  Brazil 44:07 15 km

Women

Year Athlete Country Time (m:s) Distance
1975 Christa Vahlensieck  West Germany 28:39 8.9 km
1976 Christa Vahlensieck  West Germany 28:36.02 8.9 km
1977 Loa Olafsson  Denmark 27:15 8.9 km
1978 Dana Slater  United States N/A 8.9 km
1979 Dana Slater  United States 29:07.5 8.9 km
1980 Heidi Hutterer  West Germany 27:48.4 8.9 km
1981 Rosa Mota  Portugal 26:45.8 8.9 km
1982 Rosa Mota  Portugal 47:21 13 km
1983 Rosa Mota  Portugal 43:41.59 12 km
1984 Rosa Mota  Portugal 43:35.57 12 km
1985 Rosa Mota  Portugal 43:00.85 12 km
1986 Rosa Mota  Portugal 43:25 12 km
1987 Martha Thenório  Ecuador 46:27 13 km
1988 Aurora Cunha  Portugal 42:12.7 12.640 km
1989 Maria Del Carmen Diaz  Mexico 43:52 12.640 km
1990 Maria Del Carmen Diaz  Mexico N/A 12.640 km
1991 Maria Luisa Servin  Mexico 54:02 15 km
1992 Maria Del Carmen Diaz  Mexico 53:52 12.640 km
1993 Helen Kimaiyo-Kipkoskei  Kenya 50:26 15 km
1994 Derartu Tulu  Ethiopia 51:17 15 km
1995 Carmem Oliveira  Brazil 50:53 15 km
1996 Roseli Machado  Brazil 52:32 15 km
1997 Martha Thenório  Ecuador 52:04 15 km
1998 Olivera Jevtić  Yugoslavia 51:35 15 km
1999 Lydia Cheromei  Kenya 51:29 15 km
2000 Lydia Cheromei  Kenya 50:33 15 km
2001 Maria Zeferina Baldaia  Brazil 52:12 15 km
2002 Marizete de Paula Rezende  Brazil 54:02 15 km
2003 Margaret Okayo  Kenya 51:24 15 km
2004 Lydia Cheromei  Kenya 53:01 15 km
2005 Olivera Jevtić  Serbia and Montenegro 51:38 15 km
2006 Lucélia Peres  Brazil 51:24 15 km
2007 Alice Timbilili  Kenya 53:07 15 km
2008 Yimer Wude Ayalew  Ethiopia 51:37 15 km
2009 Pasalia Kipkoech Chepkorir  Kenya 52:32 15 km
2010 Alice Timbilili  Kenya 50:19 15 km

Titles by country

Country Men's Women's Total
 Brazil 28(1) 5 33
 Kenya 12 8 20
 Portugal 4 7 11
 Mexico 4 5 9
 Belgium 6 0 6
 Colombia 6 0 6
 Ecuador 4 2 6
 United States 2 2 4
 West Germany 1 3 4
 Yugoslavia 2 0 2
 Serbia and Montenegro 0 2 2
 Argentina 3 0 3
 Ethiopia 1 2 3
 Chile 2 0 2
 France 2 0 2
 United Kingdom 2 0 2
 Italy 2(2) 0 2
 Costa Rica 1 0 1
 Czechoslovakia 1 0 1
 Finland 1 0 1
 Uruguay 1 0 1
 Denmark 0 1 1
1 Brazilians won 17 times in the national era, and 11 times in the international era.

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