Saint Silvester Road Race

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"São Silvestre" redirects here. For the film about the race, see São Silvestre (film).
This article is about the race in São Paulo, Brazil. For the race held in Madrid, Spain on December 31, see San Silvestre Vallecana.

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, Porto and Volta à cidade do Funchal 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.

History[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Edition Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Distance Women's winner Time (m:s) Distance
National era
1st 1925  Alfredo Gomes (BRA) 23:10 6.2 km Not held
2nd 1926  Jorge Mancebo (BRA) 22:32 6.2 km
3rd 1927  Heitor Blasi (ITA) 23:00 6.2 km
4th 1928  Salim Maluf (BRA) 29:11 8.8 km
5th 1929  Heitor Blasi (ITA) 29:11 8.8 km
6th 1930  Murilo de Araújo (BRA) 25:35 8.8 km
7th 1931  José Agnello (BRA) 26:05 8.2 km
8th 1932  Nestor Gomes (BRA) 25:23 8.8 km
9th 1933  Nestor Gomes (BRA) 23:50 7.6 km
10th 1934  Alfredo Carletti (BRA) 24:10 7.6 km
11th 1935  Nestor Gomes (BRA) 25:51 7.6 km
12th 1936  Mario de Oliveira (BRA) 23:38 7.6 km
13th 1937  Mario de Oliveira (BRA) 23:26 7.6 km
14th 1938  Armando Martins (BRA) 23:38 7.6 km
15th 1939  Luiz Del Greco (BRA) 24:50 7.6 km
16th 1940  Antônio Alves (BRA) 23:14 7 km
17th 1941  José Tibúrcio dos Santos (BRA) 22:12 7 km
18th 1942  Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva (BRA) 17:02 5.5 km
19th 1943  Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva (BRA) 17:31 5.5 km
20th 1944  Joaquim Gonçalves da Silva (BRA) 17:40 5.5 km
International era
21st 1945  Sebastião Alves Monteiro (BRA) 21:54 7 km Not held
22nd 1946  Sebastião Alves Monteiro (BRA) 21:57 7 km
23rd 1947  Oscar Moreira (URU) 21:45 7 km
24th 1948  Raúl Inostroza (CHI) 22:18 7 km
25th 1949  Viljo Heino (FIN) 22:45 7.3 km
26th 1950  Lucien Theys (BEL) 22:37 7.3 km
27th 1951  Erik Krucziky (FRG) 22:26 7.3 km
28th 1952  Franjo Mihalić (YUG) 21:38 7.3 km
29th 1953  Emil Zátopek (TCH) 20:30 7.3 km
30th 1954  Franjo Mihalić (YUG) 21:51 7.4 km
31st 1955  Kenneth Norris (GBR) 22:18 7.4 km
32nd 1956  Manoel Faria (POR) 21:58 7.3 km
33rd 1957  Manoel Faria (POR) 21:37 7.3 km
34th 1958  Osvaldo Suárez (ARG) 21:40 7.4 km
35th 1959  Osvaldo Suárez (ARG) 21:55 7.4 km
36th 1960  Osvaldo Suárez (ARG) 22:02 7.4 km
37th 1961  Martin Hyman (GBR) 21:24 7.4 km
38th 1962  Hamoud Ameur (FRA) 22:08 7.4 km
39th 1963  Henry Clerckx (BEL) 21:55 7.4 km
40th 1964  Gaston Roelants (BEL) 21:37 7.4 km
41st 1965  Gaston Roelants (BEL) 21:20 7.4 km
42nd 1966  Álvaro Mejía Florez (COL) 29:57 9.2 km
43rd 1967  Gaston Roelants (BEL) 24:31 8.7 km
44th 1968  Gaston Roelants (BEL) 24:32 8.7 km
45th 1969  Juan Martínez (MEX) 24:02 8.7 km
46th 1970  Frank Shorter (USA) 24:27 8.9 km
47th 1971  Rafael Tadeo Palomares (MEX) 23:47 8.9 km
48th 1972  Víctor Mora (COL) 23:24 8.9 km
49th 1973  Víctor Mora (COL) 23:25 8.9 km
50th 1974  Rafael Ángel Pérez (CRC) 23:58 8.9 km
51st 1975  Víctor Mora (COL) 23:13 8.9 km  Christa Vahlensieck (FRG) 28:39 8.9 km
52nd 1976  Edmundo Warnke (CHI) 23:50 8.9 km  Christa Vahlensieck (FRG) 28:36 8.9 km
53rd 1977  Domingo Tibaduiza (COL) 23:55 8.9 km  Loa Olafsson (DEN) 27:15 8.9 km
54th 1978  Radhouane Bouster (FRA) 23:51 8.9 km  Dana Slater (USA) 28:55 8.9 km
55th 1979  Herb Lindsay (USA) 23:26 9 km  Dana Slater (USA) 29:07 9 km
56th 1980  José João da Silva (BRA) 23:40 8.9 km  Heidi Hutterer (FRG) 27:48 8.9 km
57th 1981  Víctor Mora (COL) 23:30 8.9 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 26:45 8.9 km
58th 1982  Carlos Lopes (POR) 39:41 13.548 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 47:21 13.548 km
59th 1983  João da Mata (BRA) 37:39 12.6 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 43:44 12.6 km
60th 1984  Carlos Lopes (POR) 36:43 12.640 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 43:35 12.640 km
61st 1985  José João da Silva (BRA) 36:48 12.640 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 43:00 12.640 km
62nd 1986  Rolando Vera (ECU) 36:45 12.6 km  Rosa Mota (POR) 43:25 12.6 km
63rd 1987  Rolando Vera (ECU) 39:02 13 km  Martha Tenorio (ECU) 46:27 13 km
64th 1988  Rolando Vera (ECU) 36:23 12.630 km  Aurora Cunha (POR) 42:12 12.630 km
65th 1989  Rolando Vera (ECU) 36:45 12.650 km  María del Carmen Díaz (MEX) 43:52 12.650 km
66th 1990  Arturo Barrios (MEX) 35:58 12.640 km  María del Carmen Díaz (MEX) 43:16 12.640 km
67th 1991  Arturo Barrios (MEX) 44:04 15 km  María Luisa Servín (MEX) 54:02 15 km
68th 1992  Simon Chemoiywo (KEN) 44:08 15 km  María del Carmen Díaz (MEX) 54:00 15 km
69th 1993  Simon Chemoiywo (KEN) 43:20 15 km  Helen Kimaiyo (KEN) 50:26 15 km
70th 1994  Ronaldo da Costa (BRA) 44:11 15 km  Derartu Tulu (ETH) 51:17 15 km
71st 1995  Paul Tergat (KEN) 43:12 15 km  Carmen Oliveira (BRA) 50:53 15 km
72nd 1996  Paul Tergat (KEN) 43:50 15 km  Roseli Machado (BRA) 52:32 15 km
73rd 1997  Émerson Iser Bem (BRA) 44:40 15 km  Martha Tenorio (ECU) 52:03 15 km
74th 1998  Paul Tergat (KEN) 44:47 15 km  Olivera Jevtić (YUG) 51:35 15 km
75th 1999  Paul Tergat (KEN) 44:35 15 km  Lydia Cheromei (KEN) 51:29 15 km
76th 2000  Paul Tergat (KEN) 43:57 15 km  Lydia Cheromei (KEN) 50:33 15 km
77th 2001  Tesfaye Jifar (ETH) 44:15 15 km  Maria Zeferina Baldaia (BRA) 52:09 15 km
78th 2002  Robert Cheruiyot (KEN) 44:59 15 km  Marizete de Paula Rezende (BRA) 54:02 15 km
79th 2003  Marílson Gomes dos Santos (BRA) 43:49 15 km  Margaret Okayo (KEN) 51:24 15 km
80th 2004  Robert Cheruiyot (KEN) 44:43 15 km  Lydia Cheromei (KEN) 52:58 15 km
81st 2005  Marílson Gomes dos Santos (BRA) 44:19 15 km  Olivera Jevtić (SCG) 51:37 15 km
82nd 2006  Franck de Almeida (BRA) 44:06 15 km  Lucélia Peres (BRA) 51:23 15 km
83rd 2007  Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (KEN) 45:54 15 km  Alice Timbilil (KEN) 51:37 15 km
84th 2008  James Kwambai (KEN) 44:42 15 km  Wude Ayalew (ETH) 51:37 15 km
85th 2009  James Kwambai (KEN) 44:40 15 km  Pasalia Kipkoech Chepkorir (KEN) 52:30 15 km
86th 2010  Marílson Gomes dos Santos (BRA) 44:07 15 km  Alice Timbilil (KEN) 50:19 15 km
87th 2011  Tariku Bekele (ETH) 43:35 15 km  Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 48:48 15 km
88th 2012  Edwin Kipsang (KEN) 44:05 15 km  Maurine Kipchumba (KEN) 51:42 15 km
89th 2013  Edwin Kipsang (KEN) 43:48 15 km  Nancy Kipron (KEN) 51:58 15 km

Titles by country[edit]

Country Men Women Total
 Brazil 28(1) 5 33
 Kenya 14 11 25
 Portugal 4 7 11
 Mexico 4 5 9
 Belgium 6 0 6
 Colombia 6 0 6
 Ecuador 4 2 6
 Ethiopia 2 2 4
 United States 2 2 4
 West Germany 1 3 4
 Argentina 3 0 3
 Chile 2 0 2
 France 2 0 2
 Italy 2(2) 0 2
 Serbia and Montenegro 0 2 2
 United Kingdom 2 0 2
 Yugoslavia 2 0 2
 Costa Rica 1 0 1
 Czechoslovakia 1 0 1
 Denmark 0 1 1
 Finland 1 0 1
 Uruguay 1 0 1
1 Brazilians won 17 times in the national era, and 11 times in the international era.
2 Italy only won in the national era, with the Italo-Brazilian, Heitor Blasi.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]