Kenyans dominate Access Bank/ Lagos City Marathon

Photo: Winner of the Marathon, Bernard Sang

By Ifeanyi Eduzor

Kenyan athletes once again proved that they’re the undisputed leaders of long distance races as they dominated the 9th edition of the annual Access Bank/ Lagos City Marathon held Saturday, February, 10 at the nation’s economic capital

They won all the top prizes in the men category of the 42 kilometer race and also took the second and third positions in the women category.

Beginning from the flag off point in front of the National Stadium Surulere Lagos to the finish line at Eko Atlantic, City, Victoria Island, Lagos they showed everyone that they were in Nigeria for business as they led thousands of athletes from the beginning to the end

At the end of the energy sapping race, Kenyan Bernard Sang came first with a time of 2hrs: 16: 49 secs while his fellow country men, Silas Cheprot and Geoffrey Birgen came second and third on a time of 2hrs:16: 53 secs and 2hrs: 17: 42 secs respectively.

In the women category, Ethiopian, Kabene Hurisa came first with a time of 2hrs: 41: 01 secs while Kenyans Margret Agai and Sharon Cherop took the second and third positions on a time of 2hrs: 41: 42 secs and 2 hrs : 42: 00 secs respectively.

Speaking on his victory, Sang said he’s excited winning the race but however blamed the Nigerian hot weather for the time he returned to be crowned champion.

” I’m very excited winning this race but I wound have returned a better time if not for the hot weather. In Kenya our weather is cool but very hot here but all the same I feel good emerging the winner and I look forward to defending the title next year”, he stated with confidence.

Also the first Nigerian man to cross the finish line, was Adamu Sheu Muazu who got to the finish line on a time of 2hrs: 29 : 20 secs with Nyango Gyang coming second on a time of 2 hrs: 30: 21 secs while Friday Yohana came third on a time of 2 hrs: 35: 21 secs.

The first Nigerian woman to brace the tape was Deborah Badung Pam who finish on a time of 2hrs : 55: 27. Blessing Shambor Solomon came second on a time of 2 hrs: 56: 41 secs while Power Elizabeth Nuhu took the third position with a time of 3hrs: 18: 05 secs.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Governor of Lagos State Engr. Obafemi Hamzat commended the organisers and Access Bank for putting up a seamless marathon nothing that the state government will continue to support the development of long distance races.

He also assured that the Lagos State Government will continue to create conducive business environment and encourage corporate organisations involvement in sports development.

In his own remarks, Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe who was represented by the Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, Victor Etuokwu explained that the bank is happy to be associated with the history of the Marathon as it has led to many remarkable records of self discovery and achievement.

” We at Access Bank are happy that through this race, we have put the world on notice and earned the praises of the highest bodies in road running.

“One edition at a time, we are changing the world’s view of Africa and at it’s core, that’s what we aim to achieve with our sponsorship of this race

He stated that as the headline sponsor of the race, Access Bank takes pride in not only achieving the Gold Label status but also getting their sights on Platinum Label for the 10th edition holding next year.

Winners of the race in both men and women categories won $ 30,000 while the first and second runners- up went home with $ 20,000 and $ 15,000 respectively while the fourth to tenth positions got money ranging from $12,000 to $1,000.

Nigerian athletes who first got to the finish line got N 2 million for both men and women while the first and second runners-up smiled home with N 1.5 million and N1million. Those that finished from 4th to 10th position also got monies ranging from N 500,000 to N 50,0000.

About 88 elite athletes from 18 countries of the world and 15 refugee runners participated in the marathon which attracted thousands of runners.

There was also a 10 kilometer race which flagged off at the Grace Garden Event Place, Lekki with Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island as it’s finish point.

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