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By Oliver Bazely, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANIERO – On Sunday, July 18th over 15,000 runners took to the streets of Rio, participating in the annual Caixa Marathon, half marathon and family fun run. Despite dire forecasts, the rain held off and the gray skies did little to dampen spirits.

One runner happily crossing the finish line at the 2010 Rio Marathon, photo by Oliver Bazely.

Amongst the elite runners, the leader-board was dominated by Kenyans and Brazilians, with the former’s Anderson Kiprono winning the men’s event in a time of 2:19:54. As well as the glory of crossing the line first, Kiprono won himself R$20,000 in prize money.

Kiprono managed to hold off a late challenge from Brazilian Adriano Bastos who, despite an attack of cramps around the halfway mark, came from behind to finish second in a time of 2:19:57.

In third place was another Kenyan, Stephen Kinyanjui Nijorge (2:20:19), followed by Brazilians Giomar Pereira da Silva (2:20:28) and Marcos Alexandre Elias (2:20:42).

In the women’s event Brazilians took each of the top five spots, with Sirlene Pinho winning in a time of 2:43:15. Second place went to Sueli Silva (2:45:24), with third, fourth and fifth going to Conceição Carvalho (2:48:42), Ilda dos Santos (2:48:57) and Antonia da Silva (2:49:55) respectively.

To the relief of all the runners, the persistent rain that had been soaking Rio during the previous few days miraculously disappeared at 7AM, just before the race started. As the sun rose the clouds lifted, and, as an added bonus, the remaining overcast conditions ensured runners did not overheat as the race progressed.

A forró band greeted runners at the finish line, photo by Oliver Bazely.

Marathon runners completed a circular course, starting and finishing in Flamengo, while half-marathon runners started in Barra*. The last half of the marathon course ran along the beaches of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana, before turning towards Botafogo and on to the finish line.

Race sponsor Rioluz even provided lighting in some of the tunnels between Barra and Leblon in the form of inflatable balloons, accompanied by classical music to sooth any jittery nerves. Numerous water stations were placed along the course, as well as occasional points where glucose gel and sports drinks could be grabbed by those who were feeling the effects of exhaustion.

Around the finishing line in Flamengo, numerous corporate stands had been erected, and for some lucky runners and their friends there were opportunities to socialize and receive complimentary massages after the race. The presence of a wandering Forró band further added to the festive atmosphere.

Half marathon – Male

  1. Kipkemei Mutai (Ken) – 1:04:20
  2. Emmanuel Bett (Ken) – 1:04:26
  3. João da Bota (Bra) – 1:04:46
  4. Solenei dos Santos (Bra) – 1:05:56
  5. Gilmar Lopes (Bra) – 1:06:39

Half marathon – Female

  1. Adriana Aparecida da Silva (Bra) – 1:16:17
  2. Chantai Rionotukei (Ken) – 1:17:00
  3. Michele Cristina Chagas (Bra) – 1:17:25
  4. Marily dos Santos (Bra) – 1:21:13
  5. Maria Bernadete Cabral (Bra) – 1:23:02

Family Run – Male

  1. Carlos Caetano – 18:44
  2. Thiago Martins da Silva – 19:07
  3. Sicero Vieira Andrade – 19:09

Family Run – Female

  1. Vera Betania Rosa – 23:04
  2. Maria Aparecida Angelo – 23:14
  3. Suley Baronto – 23:19

*Last week’s marathon preview article inaccurately stated that the full marathon course started and finished in Barra.

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