Maria José do Nascimento, 51, an accomplished Brazilian runner, was killed when struck by a truck in Rio de Janeiro last Sunday. Nascimento was participating in the 200K Audax Rio Guapimirim amateur cycling race at the time of the incident. An accomplished ultrarunner as well as cyclist, she completed the Comrades Marathon twice, in 2012 and 2018.
Tribute to an incredible Brazilian @ComradesRace runner, Marie José do Nascimento, aka Zezé, #49528 who was hit by a truck last Sunday, in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, whilst leading a cycling race. Zeze earned 2 Comrades medals (2012 & 2018). Shosholoza, Zezé. "Nós te amamos!" pic.twitter.com/f8C67HDUcX
— Comrades Marathon (@ComradesRace) December 4, 2018
Local news reports claim the driver of the truck crossed two lanes at high speed before striking Ms. Nascimento head on, who died on the spot. It then careened into a ravine. The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Race officials claimed the route was safe and well monitored. The race was cancelled after the accident.
Nascimento, an esthetician who went by the nickname Zezé, was a native of Espírito Santo and lived in Rio. Her Instagram posts reveal a vibrant, positive person who radiated life and good health, but they start and end in 2016.
The Comrades is very popular with Brazilians. Brazil had the second-largest cohort of international runners at the Comrades Marathon in 2018, with 242.