Ronaldo Da Costa first to run 20+ Kph Marathon to challenge Martin Fiz in Zurich next Sunday in the World Half Marathon Championships
21 September, 1998 - Monaco - Brazils Ronaldo da Costa, who yesterday set a new world best of 2:06:05 in the Berlin Marathon, will be one of the stars of the 7th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, which will take place in Zurich/Uster, next Sunday, 27 September. It will be especially exciting to see the encounter between this brave new talent and Spains Martin Fiz, European champion in 1994 in Helsinki, world champion in 1995 in Göteborg and silver medallist in Athens last year.
Martin Fiz is universally recognised as one of the great marathon runners, thanks also to his successes in such prestigious events as Rotterdam and Seoul. Ronaldo da Costa, on the other hand, is a new, surprise element in the equation. In Berlin, he was running in his second marathon: just like Abebe Bikila in Rome in 1960, when he won Olympic gold and set a world best performance of 2:15:16.2.
Will Ronaldo da Costa be South Americas Abebe Bikila? From certain points of view, he could be: he turned somersaults after his victory, just like the legendary Ethiopian did after passing, victorious, beneath the Constantine Arch 38 years ago. But Ronaldo da Costa may also be the symbol of the return of South America to success in the marathon, so many years after Argentina produced two Olympic champions in the event: Juan Carlos Zabala, in 1932 in Los Angeles, and Delfo Cabrera, in 1948 in London.
Ronaldo da Costa may not have won an Olympic or World Championship title, but he has achieved an exploit which will go down in the annals of this event: he is the first man to have covered the distance at an average pace of less than three minutes per kilometre: better than 20 kilometres per hour. To pass this barrier - 20kmh for the 42.195 kilometres of the marathon - meant achieving a time for the marathon of 2:06:36, beaten by the Brazilian by fully 31 seconds. And he did this thanks to a fantastic second half of the race: 1:01:23, an average of 20.673 kph!
Born to a family of twelve, 28 years ago, in the village of Decoberto - two hours by car from Rio de Janeiro, this ex-footballer - who is nicknamed Ronaldino the Runner - was among the stars of last Aprils IAAF World Road Relay Championships in Manaus, where his impressive third leg performance helped the Brazilian team to their bronze medal , behind Kenya and Ethiopia.
Now Ronaldino will be running on another fast course in Uster, just outside Zurich, chasing what would be a truly amazing victory, just seven days after his tremendous efforts in Berlin.
Ronaldo da Costa
7 Jun 1970
167 cm / 55 kg
13:44.05 2 São Leopoldo 23.05.98
13:37.37 1 Rio de Janeiro 25.06.93
28:07.73 1 Richmond 01.06.96
28:18.26 2 Mar del Plata 29.10.94
28:23.68 1 São Leopoldo 21.05.98
28:30.53 1 Rio de Janeiro 17.05.96
28:35.8 2 Rio de Janeiro 27.06.93
28:43.3 22 Walnut 20.04.96
10 km road
27:53 1 Punta del Este 05.01.95
28:06 3 Manaus 09.01.94
28:12 7l1 Chiba 23.11.96 relay leg
15 km road
42:41 3 Tampa 26.02.94
43:15 6 Tampa 24.02.96
44:01 8 Utica 10.07.94
44:11 1 São Paulo 31.12.94
44:24 9 Tampa 18.02.95
10 miles road
47:21 1 Vittoria 17.08.97
60:54 3 Oslo 24.09.94 IAAF World HM Championships
61:05 1 Buenos Aires 04.09.94
62:01 2 Victoria 16.08.92
62:10 21 South Shields 20.09.92 IAAF World HM Championships
62:17 3 Rio de Janeiro 23.08.98
62:23 6 Lisboa 09.03.97
2:06:05 1 Berlin 20.09.98 World Best Performance
2:09:07 5 Berlin 28.09.97
statistics compiled by Carlos Fernández Canet