Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brazilian runners dominate Walt Disney World Marathon

Giovanna Martins of Brazil crosses the finish line.
Brazil's Fredison Costa continued his dominance of the Walt Disney World Marathon Sunday winning his fourth straight Disney marathon and his sixth in the past seven years. 

Costa has a sort of home-court advantage in this race: He lives in Orlando and trains at the ESON Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.  

“At Disney, every mile is magical. It’s all this happiness around and that’s what motivates me to come here,’’ Costa said through an interpreter. “The atmosphere is amazing and I have a lot of fun running here…The (weather) affected me a lot at the beginning of the race, especially the wind. But I was able to overcome it and finish strong.’’

The women's winner also is emerging as a dominant force in the Walt Disney World Marathon. Giovanna Martins, another Brazilian, has now won the women's division in two of the past three years. Last year, Martins was sidelined with an injury. 

It was unseasonably cool for the race, with temperatures hovering in the low 40s this morning. But the weather was better than it was Saturday, when an elevated chance of lightening forced Disney to cancel the Half Marathon and Kids Races.  

Costa won the marathon in 2:23:15, followed by Vanilison Neves of Brazil at 2:30:24 and Samuel Fazioli of Salem, N.H., at 2:33:23. 

Martins won the women's division in 2:48:05, followed by Kelsey Wibberley of Fenton, Mich., at 2:52:56 and Heather Schulz of Orlando at 2:59:13. 

Brazilians Fredison Costa and Giovanna Martins embrace after winning
the Walt Disney World Marathon.
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