SAO PAULO: Edwin Kipsang Rotich of Kenya won the 89th edition of the prestigious Sao Paulo international road race Tuesday to retain his title.
Last year’s men’s race saw an all-Kenyan podium with Rotich besting Joseph Aperumoi and Mark Korir.
And Rotich again dominated as he gave the Kenyans their sixth title in the past 11 editions, timing 43min 48sec for the 15km around the streets of central Sao Paulo.
This time he bested Korir by 21sec with Stanley Koech third at 41sec for a second straight Kenyan one-two-three.
Rotich’s time was 36sec off the event mark at this distance set in 1995 by five-time winner Paul Tergat.
Knowing the course from last year made his task easier, Rotich said.
“I knew the course whereas last year was my first time,” Rotich told reporters, adding the Kenyans egged each other on.
“We speak the same language and talk to each other during the race,” he explained afterwards.
Another Kenyan, Nancy Kipron, took the honors in the women’s race, winning in 51min 58sec to succeed Maurine Jelagat Kipchumba as the Kenyans completed another double triumph.
Kipron saw off Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta and Tanzania’s Jackline Juma to add to her Rio half-mararthon success last August.
Kipron explained she had frozen on previous visits but this time “I changed everything — in my head, psychologically, training.”
“I told myself everything would be new for me,” said Kipron, who knocked 2min 45sec off her finish 12 months ago, when she placed eighth.
A record 27,500 runners participated in Brazil’s oldest street race as well as what is generally regarded as the main international event in the Latin American athletics calendar.
The race attracted a colorful crowd with one fan dressing up as the US president with a giant sash bearing the legend President of USA draped over his shoulder.
Another dressed up as World Cup mascot Fuleco while one man wore an Elvis Presley costume.
Somewhat incongruously, Globo daily also pictured the runners limbering up just yards (meters) from two homeless people lying sprawled on mattresses.
Some locals also help up placards to protest at last week’s decision by a Brazilian Football Confederation tribunal to confirm docked points for local side Portuguesa, which relegated the club and saved outgoing champions Fluminense from the drop.
Rotich promised to set a tough pace from the outset as he looked to retain his title and he duly showed the rest a clean pair of heels.
Kipron’s win meanwhile gave Kenyan women a fifth straight success.
The first Sao Silvestre was held in 1925 — just 48 racers turned up — but women only began competing in 1975.