Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil was the first invited athlete to arrive at in New York City, on Monday (26), nearly a week in advance of the ING New York City Marathon, and the first to meet reporters on Tuesday morning. These are minor distinctions; more to the point, dos Santos was first to the finish line here in 2006 and 2008, and has high hopes of adding a third victory to that record.
Dos Santos is a small figure, lean beyond the point of gauntness, and speaks with a soft, high voice; only the prominent bones and signs of many kilometres of training on his face betray his age (32). The Brazilian training model centers on high training volumes, which Gomes runs at over a mile of elevation, and he has been running since he was twelve.
When he broke away from the leaders in the 2006 NYC marathon, few of them knew him and none considered his move worth covering. However, dos Santos’ relative lack of notoriety outside South America has less to do with his significant ability, as he demonstrated with two sub-2:09 clockings in London and Chicago in 2007, and more to do with the Brazilian distance-running culture….Read More