Marilson dos Santos

Athlete Profile

    Brazil Brazil
    06 AUG 1977
Marilson dos Santos (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
5000 Metres 13:19.43 Kassel 08 JUN 2006
10,000 Metres 27:28.12 Neerpelt 02 JUN 2007
10 Kilometres 27:48 Udine 14 OCT 2007
15 Kilometres 42:15 Udine 14 OCT 2007
20 Kilometres 56:32 Udine 14 OCT 2007
Half Marathon 59:33 Udine 14 OCT 2007
25 Kilometres 1:14:31 Chicago, IL 09 OCT 2011
30 Kilometres 1:29:21 London 17 APR 2011
Marathon 2:06:34 London 17 APR 2011

Progression - Outdoor

5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 13:47.22 São Paulo (IDCM) 16 MAR
2010 13:34.92 San Fernando 04 JUN
2009 13:34.79 Rio de Janeiro 07 JUN
2008 13:35.14 Praia Grande 26 APR
2007 13:22.11 Kassel 06 JUN
2006 13:19.43 Kassel 08 JUN
2005 13:40.8 Fortaleza 09 DEC
2004 13:48.07 São Paulo 05 JUN
2003 13:48.52 São Paulo 14 JUN

10,000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 28:24.20 Piracicaba 26 APR
2011 28:09.24 São Paulo 20 MAY
2009 27:58.83 Rio de Janeiro 04 JUN
2008 27:35.05 Neerpelt 31 MAY
2007 27:28.12 Neerpelt 02 JUN
2006 27:48.49 Neerpelt 05 JUN
2004 28:21.38 São Paulo 03 JUN
2003 28:22.58 Americana 28 MAR
2002 28:34.59 São Paulo 18 AUG
2000 28:39.87 Cubatão 08 APR

10 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2011 27:59 Santos 15 MAY
2010 28:17 Santos 16 MAY
2009 28:16 Santos 17 MAY
2008 28:31 New York 17 MAY
2007 27:48 Udine 14 OCT
2006 28:13 Maldonado 06 JAN
2005 28:30 Santos 15 MAY

15 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2007 42:15 Udine 14 OCT

20 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2012 58:19 New York City, NY 18 MAR
2007 56:32 Udine 14 OCT

Half Marathon

Performance Place Date
2012 1:01:26 New York City, NY 18 MAR
2011 1:01:13 Buenos Aires 11 SEP
2010 1:02:57 New York, NY 21 MAR
2009 1:02:41 Birmingham 11 OCT
2008 1:02:57 Santo Andre 13 APR
2007 59:33 Udine 14 OCT
2002 1:03:27 Santo Andre 07 APR
2000 1:02:12 Rio de Janeiro 20 AUG

25 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2011 1:14:31 Chicago, IL 09 OCT

30 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2012 1:30:03 London 22 APR
2011 1:29:21 London 17 APR
2010 1:29:23 London 25 APR


Performance Place Date
2016 2:19:09 Rio de Janeiro (Sambódromo) 21 AUG
2015 2:11:00 Hamburg 26 APR
2013 2:09:24 Berlin 29 SEP
2012 2:08:03 London 22 APR
2011 2:06:34 London 17 APR
2010 2:08:46 London 25 APR
2009 2:15:13 Berlin 22 AUG
2008 2:08:43 New York City, NY 02 NOV
2007 2:08:37 London 22 APR
2006 2:09:58 New York, NY 05 NOV
2005 2:13:40 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 13 AUG
2004 2:08:48 Chicago, IL 10 OCT

Honours - 5000 Metres

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 5 13:47.15 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 16 SEP 2006

Honours - Half Marathon

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF/EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships 2009 17 1:02:41 Birmingham 11 OCT 2009
IAAF / Caixa World Half Marathon Championships 8 1:03:14 Rio de Janeiro 12 OCT 2008
2nd IAAF World Road Running Championships 7 59:33 Udine 14 OCT 2007

Honours - Marathon

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 59 2:19:09 Rio de Janeiro (Sambódromo) 21 AUG 2016
The XXX Olympic Games 5 2:11:10 London (The Mall) 12 AUG 2012
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 16 2:15:13 Berlin 22 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games f DNF Beijing (National Stadium) 24 AUG 2008
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 10 2:13:40 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 13 AUG 2005

Honours - Senior Race

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 53 37:17 Edinburgh (Holyrood Park) 30 MAR 2008

Honours - Long Race

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
27th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 84 43:28 Belfast 28 MAR 1999

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Updated 18 March 2008

Marilson Gomes DOS SANTOS, Brazil  

(5000m, 10,000m, Half Marathon,
Marathon, Cross Country)

Born 6 August 1977, Brasilia, Brazil

Lives in Geralmenta

Coach: Adauto Domingues

Marilson Gomes dos Santos is currently the best South American distance runner and he became a celebrity in his country after winning the 2006 New York City Marathon. His success follows that of Brazilian predecessors such as Ronaldo da Costa (former marathon world record holder) and Vanderlei Cordero de Lima (2004 Olympic marathon bronze medallist).

But Dos Santos stands out not only in road races but also on the track. In the last two seasons, he has broken the 5000 and 10,000m South American records, both having lasted more than a decade.

Coming to athletics when he was 15-years-old, Dos Santos reflected: “I started running as a hobby, without the slightest intention of taking it seriously. But things began evolving and the results appeared after that.” As he was born to a humble family, he found that income from athletics could improve his family’s quality of life. “I decided to go out in front and I became a top level athlete, trying always to perform at my best in each event”, he said.

Because of his physique, Dos Santos decided at once to train for long distances and he attained good results as a junior, qualifying for the 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney, finishing 11th in his heat of the 5,000m (14:30.99). Despite his fine performances in Brazil, when he began to compete as a senior he could not take part in international races as he did not receive enough economic support.

Dos Santos was good on the track but he was drawn into road races, where he could make more money. With this came greater personal happiness and recognition from the public. He stood out in Sao Silvestre, which is the most popular competition in Brazil. It takes place every 31 December in Sao Paulo, where more than 15,000 people run 15km across the city. Dos Santos was 2nd in 2002 and victorious in 2003 and 2005. As a result, a lot of fans began to follow him.

Yet, life seems not to be easy for the South American athlete. Dos Santos is used to training by himself since there aren’t many other athletes who can equal his marks in Brazil. On one hand, that appears not to be a benefit to him, but on the other hand, he doesn’t depend on pacemakers during races and can focus simply on competition.

Dos Santos is married to Juliana Paula Santos de Azevedo, an 800 and 1500m runner, who is six years younger than him. “I sometimes share the training sessions with my wife; but our disciplines are so different that the training routines are generally dissimilar too,” he explained.

In 2004, Dos Santos made his marathon debut in Paris, finishing 6th (2:12.22). A few months later, he was 6th in Chicago but improved to 2:08.46. He finished 10th in the 2005 World Championships, in Helsinki, before making a big impression on the 37th edition of the New York City Marathon in 2006.

Even though he had trained hard for that competition, Dos Santos was not one of the favourites. But he prevailed to become the first South American athlete, man or woman, to win the race. His victory was even more unexpected as the field included Paul Tergat, the title defender and world record holder at the time, and Italian Stefano Baldini, the Olympic champion.

“I’m so happy to have won New York Marathon,” Dos Santos said. “That race is the best one among the best ones. There were a few great runners, but I was one of them. You need courage to come first, and today I had a lot of courage to go ahead and win the race.” His victory, though, was overshadowed in the media which focused more on Lance Armstrong’s victory. But, on a happier note, the $130,000 was his biggest prize in return for having decided to be a professional distance runner.

“My victory did not surprise me because I knew about my physical condition and how well I had prepared myself for the race,” Dos Santos added. “My only fear was the weather because in Brazil it’s very hot. As it turned out, I did not have any problems with the weather, maybe because I protected myself with gloves and a hat that in Brazil I don’t have to use.” He wore black gloves and sleeves up over his biceps, a black cap, and yellow tank top.

Once he was back in Brazil, Dos Santos was invited onto a lot of TV programmes and many media chose him as the best sportsman of the year. Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, gave him a medal in order to commemorate his achievement. “Wherever I go in Brazil, there’s always someone who recognises me on the streets and asks me for my autograph,” he added. “In my country, the sport is growing in popularity.”

During holidays, Dos Santos likes spending some time with his family, travelling abroad and attending parties with his wife. Besides, like every Brazilian citizen, he loves going to the beach.

On the track in 2007, Dos Santos focused on the Rio de Janeiro Pan American Games. Four years before, in Santo Domingo, he had won the silver medal at 10,000m and the bronze at 5000m. Therefore, this time he wanted to win both titles. Yet, he achieved the same medals as in 2003.

In the “Nacht van de Euregio” meeting in Neerpelt, Belgium, he was 4th at 10,000m but broke the South American record with 27:28.12, defeating Argentine Antonio Silio’s mark (27:38.72 in 1994). Moreover, he was happy to have shared the event with his wife who achieved her PB 1500m. Since then, they have tried to travel together so as not to spend much time separated from each other.

Also in 2007 Dos Santos was 7th in World Road Running Championships, in Udine, Italy, where he broke the South America half marathon record with 59:33. In addition, he set South American best marks in 10km, 15km and 20km during the race. In the London Marathon earlier in the year he had improved his PB to 2:08:37 but, defending his title, he managed only 8th place in New York.

In 2008 Dos Santos won the South American Cross Championships over 12km in Asunción, Paraguay, and now he dreams of winning a medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although an outsider for the podium, he just may cause a surprise.

Personal Bests

5000m: 13:19.43, AR (2006)
10,000m: 27:28.12, AR (2007)
10km: 27:48, AR (2007)
15km: 42:15, AR (2007)
20km: 56:32, AR (2007)
Half Marathon: 59:33, AR (2007)
25km: 1:15:38 (2004)
30km: 1:30:37 (2004)
Marathon: 2:08:37 (2007)

Yearly Progression

5,000m: 1996: 14:18.3; 1997: 14:08.1; 1998: 14:20.08; 1999: 13:54.14; 2000: 13:52.19; 2001: 14:03.47; 2002: 14:00.68; 2003: 13:48.52; 2004: 13:48.07; 2005: 13:40.8; 2006: 13:19.43 (AR); 2007: 13:22.11

10,000m: 1996: 29:52.5; 1997: 29:30.41; 1998: 29:12.05; 1999: 28:54.9; 2000: 28:38.87; 2001: 29:02.89; 2002: 28:34.59; 2003: 28:22.58; 2004: 28:21.38; 2005: 29:05.42; 2006: 27:48.49; 2007: 27:28.12 (AR)

Career Highlights


1995 2nd South American Junior Championships (Santiago) 14:36.88
1996 2nd South American Junior Championships (Bucaramanga) 14:48.3
           11th (heat) World Junior Championships (Sydney)  14:30.99
2003 1st South American Championships (Barquisimeto)  13:52.15
 2nd Pan American Games (Santo Domingo)   28:22.58
 3rd Pan American Games (Santo Domingo)   13:56.90
2006 1st Ibero-American Championships (Ponce)   13:42.88
 5th World Cup (Athens)      13:47.15
2007 2nd Pan American Games (Rio de Janeiro)   28:09.30
 3rd Pan American Games (Rio de Janeiro)   13:30.68

Cross country & Road

1996 2nd South American Junior Cross Championships (Asunción)
1997 1st World University Games (Sicilia), half marathon  1:03:32
1999 1st World University Games (Palma Mallorca), half marath. 1:04:05
2000 2nd Half Marathon Rio de Janeiro     1:02:12
2002 2nd Half Marathon Rio de Janeiro     1:03:35
 2nd Sao Silvestre (São Paulo)        45:06
2003 1s Sao Silvestre (São Paulo)        43:49
2004 1st Half Marathon Medellín      1:03:56
2005 1st Sao Silvestre (Sao Paulo)        44:21
2007 7th World Road Championships (Udine), half marathon 59:33AR
2008 1st South American Cross Championships (Asunción)


2004 6th Paris Marathon    2:12:22
 6th Chicago Marathon   2:08:46
2005 10th World Championships (Helsinki) 2:13:40
2006 1st New York City Marathon  2:09:58
2007 8th London Marathon   2:08:37
 8th New York City Marathon  2:13:47


Prepared by Víctor Pochat for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2008.

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