By JESSICA FISH
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 13, 2003
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Brazilian runners say they like to bring their families to Orlando for vacation.
They also like to win the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Sunday was good for the huge, flag-waving Brazilian contingent, and for triathletes turned marathon runners.
Adriano Bastos kept the Brazilian stronghold going at Sunday's Walt Disney World Marathon, when he ran away from the start to win in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 33 seconds.
Taking advantage of the predawn darkness, Bastos, 24, snuck away from the men's lead pack, building his lead in the first mile along Epcot Drive.
The other leaders, like Kenya native David Hinga (second, 2:23:40) said most never saw Bastos give them the slip at the beginning.
Last year, Brazilian Ilda Santos won the women's race (in 2:46:40) for the second year in a row, and Santiago de Araujo won it in 1998 and '99.
Before the race, Bastos wove his hair into numerous braids, each tied with distinctive yellow and green ribbons, covering his head.
"It was a statement I wanted to make for Brazil," Bastos said through an interpreter. "I was a triathlete in my country for eight years, but my sponsors encouraged me to concentrate on running. I'll be back because I enjoy coming to Disney, even if there is no big prize money."
Clermont's Bea Marie Altieri, 35, won the women's race in 2:53:10. Also a former triathlete, Altieri met her husband, George, as both trained for the Ironman Triathlon in 1994.
"My goal was 2:48, and I thought I could meet the Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard at Disney," Altieri said. "I felt like my training was right on target, and I came close. ... At Mile 18, I knew I had the win, I just ran the pace. But I just couldn't quite hold the 6:24 pace in that wind."
At the start the temperature was 47 degrees with a wind chill of 39. Altieri said she will pause and reevaluate her Olympic Trials plan in the coming weeks.
"I think that triathlon training gives you extraordinary strength for other sports," she said. "But running is my passion, and I'll do it forever."
Mexico's Saul Mendoza, 36, won the wheelchair event for the seventh consecutive year, breaking his course record in 1:36:39. Katherine Hunter, 41, of Alberta Beach, Canada (formerly of Orlando) won the women's wheelchair division in 2:53:40.
A record field of 16,000 ran the marathon, and 6,000 ran the half-marathon (in its sixth year). The 13.1-mile race was won by Ronnie Holassie, 31, of Miramar, who won last weekend's Gasparilla 15K race in Tampa.
Julie Peterson, 43, of Beverly, Mass., won the women's event in 1:21:05.
Professional triathlete Lara Shaw, 30, of Tampa, was the 10th overall female, winning her 30-34 age group in 1:28:00. Annette Frisch, 62, of St. Petersburg was the top 60-64 female in 2:01:59.