Local hero wins in Sao Paulo
More than one million runners took part in all the races that were staged worldwide on New Year
What has begun in Sao Pualo back in 1925 has meanwhile developed worldwide. It is difficult to estimate but probably many more than one million runners took part in all the races that were staged worldwide on New Years Eve. In Germany alone about 100,000 athletes started at roughly 100 races on New Years Eve. But it was in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo were once again the most spectacular race was started. About 13,500 runners took part in the 15 K race in front of enthusiastic spectators. And there was something special to celebrate for the Brazilians. In temperatures of 32 degress Celsius it was a local hero who shocked the Kenyan favourites: Marilson Gomes dos Santos won the race in a time of 43:49 minutes. And it was only after his countryman Romulo Wagner da Silva (43:57 minutes) had crossed the line that the first Kenyan came in. Martin Lel took third place in 43:58. “I think no-one could have beaten me today, I really wanted to win this one“, dos Santos said. It was a different story in the womens race. Because a Kenyan was unbeatable. Margaret Okayo won the race in 51:24 minutes. “It was not that easy“, she said, although she was well ahead of second placed Debora Mengich (Kenya/52:35). So Okayo ended the year during which she had won the New York City Marathon with another impressive win. It will be very interesting to see her run the Olympic marathon this year – should she be nominated by the Kenyan federation. The best elite race in Europe on New Years Eve usually take place in Bolzano. This time it was the European Cross Country Champion Sergej Lebed (Ukraine) who won the 10 K race in northern Italy. He ran 28:37 minutes and was just three seconds ahead of Abderahim Goumri (Marocco). Kenyan Benjamin Kiprotich was third a further three seconds behind. It was the defending champion Berhane Adere who won again in Bolzano. The Ethiopian 10,000 m world champion crossed the line in the 5 K race in 15:50 minutes. Seven seconds behind was British runner Jo Pavey. Also a number of New Years Day races took place. One of the events with a remarkable historic background was started in Berlin. At the Brandenburg Gate where once the wall used to separate East and West Germany 3,600 runners took part in a 4 K fun race. The first row of runners carried flags from various nations. Among them were the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack.
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