Timorese runners in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon
Timorese runners complete the New York City Marathon
November 6, 2011 - Calisto da Costa
and Lola Goncalves Gama completed the ING NYCM in 2h46:04 and 3h51:43
respectively. The two Timorese runners completed the event as the second pair of
Timorese athletes to attend the annual New York Marathon. Da Costa's time put
him in at 276th overall, much the same as his compatriot Augusto Ramos Soares'
time from last year. Once again the Timorese runners suffered from the cold
weather and were somewhat slower than there times from the Dili Marathon on 18
June this year where they each finished second in their sex category.
"It was an amazing run" said da Costa of the five borough event "there were so
many people cheering us on with signs and music." The race is however well known
for its bridges where the cold hits the hardest. Da Costa started feeling
trouble with cramps in around the 35 km mark and by the 40km mark was already
watching many competitors pass him. Similarly Goncalves was struck with cold and
cramps, falling from a 4min/km average to a roughly 7min/km average from the
20th km onwards. All in all though the race and the lead up to it were
enormously successful in showcasing Timor to the world and continuing to promote
Timorese elite athletes.
Before coming to the USA, the runners spent five days in Singapore for their
visa interview and processing. There they were able to make the best of their
time through a meeting with representatives from Air Timor, the airline that
sponsored the flight from Dili to Singapore, as well as meeting the athletics
group, Dream+. Through their time in Singapore, da Costa and Goncalves, trained,
relaxed and chatted with the Singaporean athletes who wondered at their Timorese
counterpart's skill and determination, while the Timorese were equally impressed
by the Singaporean's equipment, technology and structure. After the five days in
Singapore, the two athlete groups departed as good friends and both teams
expressed their hope that they would be able to meet up again soon to contribute
to each other's training programmes.
After arriving in America, da Costa and Goncalves were invited to attend a
training session with a school running programme "Wheeler Athletics" in
Washington Heights (North Manhattan). Here the Timorese runners wowed students
with their stories from Timor and running before joining the students on a run
and leading a stretching programme. The stretches they showed were a small
indication of just how skilled and well-trained the Timorese athletes really
After their school visit on Thursday, the runners had the opening ceremony on
Friday night, alongside athletes from over 100 other countries, da Costa proudly
carried the Timorese flag. The runners spent the night mingling with athletes
from around the world, as well as offering a good many geography lessons to
those who did not know where Timor was! As they marched towards the finish line
the athletes were able to get an idea of where everything would end on the
The following morning, da Costa and Goncalves were able to attend a meet and
greet with famous distance runners Paula Radcliffe, Tegla Loroupe and Wilson
Kipketer. After that they completed a small jog and stretch session in
preparation for the big day ahead.
Overall the trip was an amazing opportunity to establish an ongoing relationship
with the biggest and best-known marathon in the world. It was a fantastic
success in terms of athletics, promoting awareness of Timor-Leste and providing
inspiration for younger runners in Timor. The event was a perfect way to promote
one of Timor's best resources: it's people.
|Supporters cheer Timorese
marathoners in November 2010.
Calisto da Costa and Lola Gonsalves Gama are
representing Timor-Leste in the 2011 New York City Marathon
Both runners have amazing potential and
have are supported by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) through the newly
initiated Canberra Distance Running Friends of Timor (CDRFT). Indeed,
both athletes were part of the delegation invited to Canberra in August this
year to attend a week-long training camp at the AIS as part of the CDRFT
project. Both runners have had successes to the point that they are vying with
Augusto Ramos Soares and Juventina Napoleao to be the top runners in
Like last year,
ETAN organized a cheering section for the runners.
Calisto da Costa
(Male) born 6 February 1979 - ran 2h34:52 in the 2011
Calisto has had experience in
the past in overseas travel and is a strong ambassador for Timor-Leste,
especially given his confidence and his ability to speak some English.
Calisto is a police officer in Timor-Leste and was born and raised in
the Eastern district of Lautem.
|Calisto is at
(Female) born 12 December 1991-
ran 3h10.47 in the 2011 Dili Marathon (2nd
of women finishers)
Lola is one of the youngest
runners in the elite squad and looks as though she will be amongst the
top runners for many years to come. Lola is from Liquica district, the
district just to the west of Dili. Lola’s mother until this year was her
principle coach, but Lola is now living in Dili full time in order to
further her running.
|Lola is at the
Watch video of Timorese Augusto Ramos at the New York City Marathon
Augusto Ramos at the New York City Marathon 2010 by davidontheglobe