Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong’s love affair with Brazilian roads continued on Saturday when she won the 92nd Sao Silvestre international 15-kilometre road race in Sao Paulo, four months after her gold medal run at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Sumgong, who also won the 2016 London Marathon, clocked a record-breaking 48 minutes and 35 seconds to win the New Year’s Eve race, finishing 40 seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan, Flomena Cheyech, the 2014 Commonwealth marathon champion.
The previous record was 48:48, set in 2011.
The men’s race was tighter, with three runners finishing within seven seconds of one another.
Ethiopian Leul Aleme won with a time of 44:53, beating compatriot Dawit Admasu, with Kenya’s Stephen Kosgei finishing third.
Sumgong said she didn’t run with the record in mind, noting that the heat and humidity made it an especially difficult race for her, according to a statement distributed by race organisers.
With her medal in Rio and the Sao Silvestre record, Sumgong said Brazil was “in my heart.”
Sumgong, who was declared Road Running Athlete of the Year at the Athletics Kenya Gala said her journey to stardom started in Rio as she shifted focus on this year’s World Championships in London and possible Olympic title defence at 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
“I can only pray for good health from God since if he delivered this then he will make it possible for me in London and Tokyo respectively,” said Sumgong, who represent the Moi Air Base team.