Da Costa broke the ten-year-old marathon world record in 1998 in Berlin, having been fifth-placed in the previous year. The record had been held by Belayneh Densamo from Ethiopia at the Rotterdam Marathon in April 1988. The record fell in the following year, almost eleven months later.
The youngest of eleven children, Da Costa became a national hero after winning the internationally competed São Silvestre Brazilian road race (15 km) in 1994. The same year he won the 5,000 m in the Ibero-American Championships entered by south-western European, Central and Southern American countries. From 1997, aged 27, until 2003 Da Costa achieved top-20 results in four marathons, however unlike most marathon record holders, did not win any international marathons apart from his world-record-breaking run.
|1994||World Half Marathon Championships||Oslo, Norway||3rd||Half marathon||60:00.54|
|Ibero-American Championships||Mar del Plata, Argentina||1st||5000m||13:47.99|
|1995||Pan American Games||Mar del Plata, Argentina||7th||5000 m||14:01.47|
|1996||Olympic Games||Atlanta, Georgia||16th||10,000 m||29:26.58|
|1997||Berlin Marathon||Berlin, Germany||5th||Marathon||2:09:07|
|1998||Berlin Marathon||Berlin, Germany||1st||Marathon||2:06:05|
|World Half Marathon Championships||Uster, Switzerland||12th||Half marathon||61:04.54|
|1999||London Marathon||London, England||17th||Marathon||2:14:10|
|2002||Berlin Marathon||Berlin, Germany||16th||Marathon||2:12:52|
|2003||Tokyo Marathon||Tokyo, Japan||17th||Marathon||2:20:57|
- IAAF All Time Marathon List Retrieved 18 May 2010.
| Men's Marathon World Record Holder
September 20, 1998 – October 24, 1999
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