Athletics: Da Costa's delight

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THE BRAZILIAN Ronaldo da Costa ran the fastest marathon in history in Berlin yesterday, shattering the 10-year-old mark by 45 seconds.

The Brazilian, running in only his second marathon, broke free from the pack at the midway point of the 25th Berlin Marathon and ran alone under bright sunny skies to win in two hours, six minutes and five seconds.

Da Costa, who finished fifth in Berlin last year in 2:09.07, turned a cartwheel at the finish line in celebration. He finished more than a minute ahead of Kenyan Josephat Kiprono, who clocked 2:07:26. Another Kenyan, Samson Kandie, was third in 2:09:11.

"I came simply to run under 2:08.00 but the conditions were so good I just decided to go for it." the 28-year-old da Costa said. "My training had gone very well.

"At the start I felt a bit weak and that gave me a few worries. But then I noticed I was going well. My manager shouted to me after 39 kms `Come on Ronaldo, go for it'. I knew then that the record was on.

"I was very cautious last year because it was my first marathon. But I caught a lot of people in the second half of the race. I came back to Berlin because it's a fast course."

Da Costa's time bettered the mark of 2:06.50 set by Ethiophian Belayneh Dinsamo in Rotterdam on April 17, 1988. Da Costa won 40,000marks (pounds 14,500) for first place and a 100,000mark world record bonus.

Dinsamo broke the previous record by 22 seconds. Dinsamo and Da Costa are the only people to have run under 2:07.

Da Costa is virtually unknown internationally but he is famous at home for being the first Brazilian winner in 30 years of the famous San Silvestre road race through Sao Paulo at New Year, a feat he achieved four years ago.

Kiprono set a personal best time of 2:07.26. Kandie was a distant third in 2:09.11.

Marleen Renders of Belgium won the women's race with a personal best time of 2:25.56, beating Susann Chepkemei of Kenya in second in 2:28:18.

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