IAAF World Road Running Championships - logo (© c)
Mexico and Brazil lead Latin America’s participation at the inaugural IAAF Road Race World Championships, to be held this weekend in Debrecen, Hungary (Sunday 8 Oct).
Mexico will be represented by Juan Carlos Romero, Gualberto Vargas, Julio César Pérez, Susana Díaz and Patricia Rodríguez, while Brazil counts on four men and four women: João Ferreira de Lima, Paulo Alves do Santos, Élson Alex Gracioli, Adriano Lemos Fortes, Maria Sandra Pereira Silva, Maria Cristina Bernardo Vaqueiro Rodrigues, Rosa Jussara Barbosa and Antonia Bernadete Lins da Silva.
The Mexican squad was selected at the 17th Atlas Half Marathon in early September.
Romero, a double silver medallist at the 2005 CAC Champs in Nassau, has been fast on the track, following his 28:32.61-minute 10.000m in June. He has a half marathon personal best of 1:04:44.
Vargas and Perez have marathon experience as the former ran 2:17:22 to finish eighth in Toronto, in late September. The latter ran 2:17:26 for ninth at Lala in April. Vargas represented Mexico at the marathon of the 10th IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, while 24-year old Perez wore the red, white and green colours at the 2005 World Half Marathon Champs in Edmonton.
Among women, Susana Diaz and Jessica Patricia Rodriguez also hope to improve their 20km best. Diaz, mother of three, is coached by Mexico-based Polish Wanda Panfil, the 1991 World marathon champion.
The South American giant will send eight athletes to Debrecen.
Joao Ferreira de Lima and Paulo Alves dos Santos were selected after finishing second and third at the Rio de Janeiro Half Marathon, in early September, with respective times of 1:04:27 and 1:04:39. Alves made his marathon debut in Berlin, three weeks later.
Elson Alex Gracioli and Adriano Lemos Fortes, both timed 1:05:24 in Rio, complete the men’s quartet.
The four Brazilian women have run 1:18 half marathons this season.
Maria Sandra Pereira Silva clocked 1:18:23 to finish sixth in Rio, followed by M.C.Bernardo Vaqueiro Rodrigues (1:18:35) and Antonia Bernadete Lins de Barros (1:18:51). Rosa Jussara Barbosa ran 1:18:40 for fouth in Sao Paulo, in April.
The IAAF World Road Race World Championships replace the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, held annually in 1992-2005.
In the previous event, Mexico and Brazil posted their best result in Oslo´94, when German Silva and Ronaldo da Costa clinched the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Another runner from Mexico, Arturo Barrios (now American) has held the 20,000m and one-hour world records on the track, since 1991.
Mexico also hosted the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Veracruz, in November 2000.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF