KISSIMMEE ? Adriano Bastos was the only person on the Walt Disney World grounds with enough star power to rival Mickey Mouse on Sunday.
Children waited to shake his hand. Spectators shouted their congratulations. Photographers, it seemed, couldn't get enough of the flashy Brazilian runner with the green and yellow spray-painted braids.
Without a doubt, Bastos is the most recognized runner in the Walt Disney World Marathon's 14-year history.
"[Running] is not as big as soccer in Brazil, but this win is very important for Brazilians," said Bastos' Portuguese translator, Juliana Cadiz.
Bastos, 28, ran the entire race in the leader's position and finished in 2:19:24, more than 13 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Matthew Dobson, 37, of Jay, Fla. This is his fourth win -- a record number of victories for the event.
Equally impressive were the performances of women's marathon winner Gabriela Trana, 26, who finished in 2:57:04, and runner-up Christa Benton, 22, who finished in 2:57.26. Trana, of Costa Rica, and Benton, of St. Petersburg, found themselves at the top of the heap even though neither had run a 26.2-mile course before.
But it was Bastos who headlined the day. More than his victories, he's become known for his personality and style.
In mid-sprint, Bastos stopped on the victory lap. He squatted, broke into a gap-toothed grin and smiled at the spectators as the DJ counted down the seconds for Bastos to beat his 2006 time. He shaved off 20 seconds, even with his entertainment timeout.
He sports black Mickey Mouse head tattoos on the back of each calf. "Thinking about getting a Mickey Mouse tattoo for every win," he said.
Most of the 11,500-plus marathoners were amateurs who were raising money for charitable causes. The rest ran for fun. No prize money is awarded.
To Bastos, the event falls into the fun category, but it's something he takes seriously. He's the third man from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to win the race.
He runs about three marathons a year and pulls in about $4,000 a month from sponsors to compete. For winning the Disney marathon, he'll get about a $1,000 bonus, he said.
"I felt the pressure in Brazil from sponsors, from family, from the country, from the media of winning again. People were kind of expecting me to win. That's why it was harder this time around," he said.
Add to that a 23-hour flight from Brazil. He didn't arrive in Orlando until 3 a.m. Saturday.
Renzo Martinez defended his wheelchair title in 2:24:34 and was top Palm Beach finisher.
Coral Springs personal trainer Desiree Makovsky completed her goal of running faster than last year's time, when she ran seven months pregnant. She was top Broward women's finisher in 3:28:59, bettering last year's 3:32:44.
She finished Saturday's half marathon in 1:42:28, faster than last year's 1:47:07, thereby completing her second Goofy Challenge (running the half and full the same weekend). Her husband, Brian, finished a second faster than her in the half. His marathon time was 3:49:49.
Allen Notkin of Cooper City was top Broward men's finisher in 3:17:52.
Paul Marmaro of Delray Beach, despite leg spasms and a swollen left ankle, finished in 3:54:08, his slowest career result. He is one of only 100 runners who have finished all 14 Disney Marathons. He had to stop with a half mile to go with spasms and sit on a bench for at least 30 minutes. He has been unable to run full speed since being hit by a car during a training bike ride Nov. 8.
Staff Writer Sharon Robb contributed to this report.
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