Gomes Dos Santos Returns to New York, Eager for More Success
by Chris Lotsbom
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Marilson Gomes dos Santos considers New York City his home away from home. After all, the 34-year-old is a two-time champion of the ING New York City Marathon, and has recorded a pair of top ten finishes at the NYC Half.
"It always brings me good memories," he said here Friday in an interview with Race Results Weekly through a translator. "The place where I like to run the most is here." He added with a laugh: "It would be great if the Olympic Marathon were here."
Tomorrow, Gomes dos Santos will try and give back to the city he loves so much by racing well, trying to take home a chunk of the $100,000 prize purse set up for this year's NYC Half.
"I like running in Central Park around the lake," he said, the lake being the famous reservoir. The first 10 km of Sunday's race will travel around the park's roadway.
At Friday's press conference, Gomes dos Santos noted that he has prepared extremely well for this race, building up his fitness over the eleven months since running 2:06:34 at last year's London Marathon, where he finished fourth.
"I am trying to keep improving my personal times," he said, telling reporters that he hoped to run around one hour here. Already named to Brazil's Olympic team, the South American record holder for the half-marathon has been increasing his volume and the speed in which he completes his training. Aiming for the medal stand in the Olympic Marathon, he also said the experience developed since his marathon debut in 2004 is key.
"I have high expectations," he said. "We are being able to harvest what we sought in the past."
On Sunday, Gomes dos Santos will face another past ING New York City Marathon winner, Meb Keflezighi of the United States. Keflezighi shares the same passion for the Big Apple, and recognizes Dos Santos's accomplishments.
"New York made us. Winning the ING New York City Marathon, the biggest marathon in the world, is an honor. Like I said earlier, people just want to visit New York, and to have what we did out there, we won the New York City Marathon, which is a big honor," said Keflezighi, who will represent America at the Olympic Games. "And Marilson won it twice!"
On Sunday, both Gomes dos Santos and Keflezighi will go for another New York City win, this time covering half the distance as the marathon. But no matter the result, both will have fun competing.
"It's a great feeling, and we don't feel like we have to prove anything [more]," Keflezighi said. "A lot of people know [who] we are."