Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saint Silvester Marathon
The Saint Silvester Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious street race in Brazil.
Regarded as the main international event in Latin American athletics, the marathon 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.
Although it is named a marathon, the course is only 15 km (9.3 miles) long, less than half the length of a marathon (thus a half marathon). For this reason, the Organizing Committee has been referring to the event as "The Saint Silvester Race", thus avoiding the word "marathon". Tradition and force of habit still dictates the traditional name, and many people, as well as part of the media, continue to refer to it as the "Saint Silvester Marathon". No direct effort has been made to correct the nomenclature of the race.
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. Dehydration and heat stroke, among others, are not uncommon for both annon runners and international stars (albeit much more common amidst amateurs).
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 marathon was held for the first time on December 31, 1925, which makes it 80 years old as of 2004. An interesting fact is that, unlike most events as old or older, it has not been interrupted or suspended even once during its history (and the year 2004 will have seen its 80th edition), not even for the duration of WWII.
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.
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 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 kms and 8.8 kms). This variance needed to be corrected in order to meet the requirements of the Federation of Athletics. The Marathon 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 Zatopek, 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.
|1925||Alfredo Gomes||Brazil||33min21s||8.8 kms|
|1926||Jorge Mancebo||Brazil||22m35s3||6.2 kms|
|1927||Heitor Blasi||Italy||23min||6.2 kms|
|1928||Salim Maluf||Brazil||29m11s2||6.2 kms|
|1929||Heitor Blasi||Italy||28min39s2||8.8 kms|
|1930||Murilo de Araújo||Brazil||25min35s2||8.8 kms|
|1931||José Agnello||Brazil||26min05s3||8.8 kms|
|1932||Nestor Gomes||Brazil||25min23s02||8.8 kms|
|1933||Nestor Gomes||Brazil||23min50s06||8.8 kms|
|1934||Alfredo Carletti||Brazil||24min10s2||7.6 kms|
|1935||Nestor Gomes||Brazil||N/A||7.6 kms|
|1936||Mario de Oliveira||Brazil||23min38s04||7.6 kms|
|1937||Mario de Oliveira||Brazil||N/A||7.6 kms|
|1938||Armando Martins||Brazil||23m38s4||7.6 kms|
|1939||Luiz Del Greco||Brazil||24m50s4||7.5 kms|
|1940||Antônio Alves||Brazil||22m14s||7 kms|
|1941||José Tibúrcio dos Santos||Brazil||22min12s||7 kms|
|1942||Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva||Brazil||17min02s06||5.5 kms|
|1943||Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva||Brazil||N/A||5.5 kms|
|1944||Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva||Brazil||17min40s02||5.5 kms|
|1945||Sebastião Alves Monteiro||Brazil||21min54s||7 kms|
|1946||Sebastião Alves Monteiro||Brazil||21min57s||7 kms|
|1947||Oscar Moreira||Uruguay||21min45s||7 kms|
|1948||Raul Inostroza||Chile||22min18s2||7 kms|
|1949||Viljo Heino||Finland||22min45s||7.3 kms|
|1950||Lucien Theys||Belgium||22min37s8||7.3 kms|
|1951||Erik Krucziky||Federal Republic of Germany||22min26s5||7.3 kms|
|1952||Franjo Mihalic||Yugoslavia||21min38s||7.3 kms|
|1953||Emil Zatopek||Czechoslovakia||20min30s||7.3 kms|
|1954||Franjo Mihalic||Yugoslavia||23min||7.3 kms|
|1955||Kenneth Norris||Great Britain||22min18s||7.4 kms|
|1956||Manoel Faria||Portugal||21min58s9||7.4 kms|
|1957||Manoel Faria||Portugal||21min37s4||7.4 kms|
|1958||Osvaldo Suarez||Argentina||21min40s3||7.4 kms|
|1959||Osvaldo Suarez||Argentina||21min55s8||7.4 kms|
|1960||Osvaldo Suarez||Argentina||22min2s1||7.4 kms|
|1961||Martin Hyman||Great Britain||21min24s7||7.4 kms|
|1962||Hamoud Ameur||France||22min08s5||7.4 kms|
|1963||Henry Clerckx||Belgium||N/A||7.4 kms|
|1964||Gaston Roelants||Belgium||21min37s7||7.4 kms|
|1965||Gaston Roelants||Belgium||21min20s1||7.4 kms|
|1966||Alvaro Mejia Flores||Colombia||29min57s7||9.2 kms|
|1967||Gaston Roelants||Belgium||24min55s||8.7 kms|
|1968||Gaston Roelants||Belgium||24min32s||8.7 kms|
|1969||Juan Martinez||Mexico||24min02s3||8.7 kms|
|1970||Frank Shorter||United States||24min27s4||8.9 kms|
|1971||Rafael Tadeo Palomares||Mexico||23min47s8||8.7 kms|
|1972||Victor Mora||Colombia||23min24s2||8.7 kms|
|1973||Victor Mora||Colombia||23min25s||8.7 kms|
|1974||Rafael Angel Perez||Costa Rica||23min58s||8.9 kms|
|1975||Victor Mora||Colombia||23min13s||8.9 kms|
|1976||Edmundo Warnke||Chile||23min50s8||8.9 kms|
|1977||Domingo Tibaduiza||Colombia||23min55s||8.9 kms|
|1978||Radhouane Bouster||France||23min51s6||8.9 kms|
|1979||Herb Lindsay||United States||23min26s5||8.9 kms|
|1980||José João da Silva||Brazil||23min40s||8.9 kms|
|1981||Victor Mora||Colombia||23min30s2||8.9 kms|
|1982||Carlos Lopes||Portugal||39min41s05||13.548 kms|
|1983||João da Mata||Brazil||37min39s19||12.6 kms|
|1984||Carlos Lopes||Portugal||36min43s79||12.6 kms|
|1985||José João da Silva||Brazil||N/A||12.6 kms|
|1986||Rolando Vera||Ecuador||36min45s||12.640 kms|
|1987||Rolando Vera||Ecuador||39min02s56||13.040 kms|
|1988||Rolando Vera||Ecuador||36min23s||13.040 kms|
|1989||Rolando Vera||Ecuador||36min45s||13.040 kms|
|1990||Arturo Barrios||Mexico||35min57s||12.640 kms|
|1991||Arturo Barrios||Mexico||44min47s||15 kms|
|1992||Simon Chemwoyo||Kenya||44min08s||15 kms|
|1993||Simon Chemwoyo||Kenya||43min20s||15 kms|
|1994||Ronaldo da Costa||Brazil||44min11s||15 kms|
|1995||Paul Tergat||Kenya||43min12s*||15 kms|
|1996||Paul Tergat||Kenya||N/A||15 kms|
|1997||Émerson Iser Bem||Brazil||44min40s||15 kms|
|1998||Paul Tergat||Kenya||44min47s||15 kms|
|1999||Paul Tergat||Kenya||44min35s||15 kms|
|2000||Paul Tergat||Kenya||43min57s||15 kms|
|2001||Tesfaye Jifar||Ethiopia||44min15s||15 kms|
|2002||Robert Cheruiyot||Kenya||44min59s||15 kms|
|2003||Marílson Gomes dos Santos||Brazil||43min50s kms||15 kms|
|2004||Robert Cheruiyot||Kenya||44min43s||15 kms|
- * Record for the present distance of 15 Kilometers.
|1975||Christa Valensieck||Federal Republic of Germany||28min39s||8.9 kms|
|1976||Christa Valensieck||Federal Republic of Germany||28min36s02||8.9 kms|
|1977||Loa Olafsson||Denmark||27min15s||8.9 kms|
|1978||Dana Slater||United States||N/A||8.9 kms|
|1979||Dana Slater||United States||29min07s5||8.9 kms|
|1980||Heide Hutterer||Federal Republic of Germany||27min48s4||8.9 kms|
|1981||Rosa Mota||Portugal||26min45s8||8.9 kms|
|1982||Rosa Mota||Portugal||47min21s||13 kms|
|1983||Rosa Mota||Portugal||43min41s59||12 kms|
|1984||Rosa Mota||Portugal||43min35s57||12 kms|
|1985||Rosa Mota||Portugal||43min00s85||12 kms|
|1986||Rosa Mota||Portugal||43min25s||12 kms|
|1987||Martha Thenório||Ecuador||46min27s||13 kms|
|1988||Aurora Cunha||Portugal||42min12s7||12.640 kms|
|1989||Maria Del Carmen Diaz||Mexico||43min52s||12.640 kms|
|1990||Maria Del Carmen Diaz||Mexico||N/A||12.640 kms|
|1991||Maria Luisa Servin||Mexico||54min02s||15 kms|
|1992||Maria Del Carmen Diaz||Mexico||43min52s||12.640 kms|
|1993||Hellen Kimayio||Kenya||50min26s*||15 kms|
|1994||Derartu Tulu||Ethiopia||51min17s||15 kms|
|1995||Carmem Oliveira||Brazil||50min53s||15 kms|
|1996||Roseli Machado||Brazil||52min32s||15 kms|
|1997||Martha Thenório||Ecuador||52min04s||15 kms|
|1998||Olivera Jevtic||Yugoslavia||51min35s||15 kms|
|1999||Lydia Cheromei||Kenya||51min29s||15 kms|
|2000||Lydia Cheromei||Kenya||50min33s||15 kms|
|2001||Maria Zeferina Baldaia||Brazil||52min12s||15 kms|
|2002||Marizete de Paula Rezende||Brazil||54min02s||15 kms|
|2003||Margaret Okayo||Kenya||51min24s||15 kms|
|2004||Lydia Cheromei||Kenya||53min01s||15 kms|
- * Record for the present distance of 15 km.
- Official website (in Portuguese)
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