maraton winnerLagos State the commercial nerve Centre of Nigeria was agog yesterday as over 25,000 young men and women drawn from Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Morocco, Cameroon, India and other parts of the world competed in the remodelled 2016 Access Bank Lagos Marathon, which was won by Kenyan athlete, Abraham Kipton.
The last edition took place in 1983 (33 years ago).
As early as 6.00am the National Stadium Lagos, the kick off point, was filled to capacity with athletes and sports enthusiasts including journalists and government officials from federal and state governments present.
The race which started at 7.10am took athletes through the Ikorodu road, Gbagada expressway, Third Mainland Bridge, Lekki and terminated at the sprawling new Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, a distance of 42.196 kilometres (full length marathon).
Kenyan athlete, Abraham Kipton, won the inaugural edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon race with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes and 21 seconds.
The kenyan long distance runner adorning bib number 341, pocketed the prize money of $50,000.
Coming in the overall second place was another Kenyan, Kipkemboi Hosea, who ran 2 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds, he got $40, 000 while Ethiopia’s Debebe Ethosa came third, running 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds; he won $30,000.
Halima Huseen Kayo of Ethiopia emerged winner in the female category while Emmanuel Gyan from Plateau State was the first Nigerian to cross the finishing line, but finished 7th position overall.
He got $8,000 and another N1,000,000.
Apart from the male and female champions, prizes were also given to disabled athletes who were categorised as “special athletes.”
In this category, Mary Akor came first in the female category, followed by Olamide Oluwaseun and Yohanna Donatu, second and third respectively.
In the male category, Philip Sharubutu came first, Ilia Pam second and Peter Maham third winner.
According to Steve AYorinde, Lagos State commissioner for information and strategy, the total prize money for winners ( male and female) in the different categories of the tournament was N92 million.
First prize, $50,000, second prize $40,000, 3rd prize $ 30,000, 4th prize $20,000, 5th prize $15,000, while the 10th position winner went home with $2,000.
In addition, successful Nigerian athletes won various sums of money ranging from N1 million for the first position, N750,000 for the second position, N500,000 for the third place winner to the sum of N20,000 for the 11th to 20th Nigerians.
These are exclusive of the main prize money paid in dollars.
In his speech at the event, Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, expressed gratitude to God almighty and the sponsors for the success recorded at the event.
He praised the efforts of all the athletes, especially the star athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, India and other parts of the world.
Governor Ambode recalled that the last event took place over 30 years ago, but assured those present that this time the Lagos Marathon has come to stay.
“This event is here to stay. I want to assure you all that we will make it one of the best in the world and make Lagos the hub of not just commercial activities but sports in Africa. Our plan is to showcase Lagos as the choice destination for sports and tourism. Lagos marathon has come to stay”, the governor said.
Speaking earlier, group managing director of Access Bank Plc, the official sponsors, Herbert Wigwe said the event offered his bank with the unique privilege of expressing its ethos and ideals to a very special audience.
“The marathon, which revives an experience of over three decades, has earned every one of us a place in history. It gives us great pride that through our collaboration with Lagos state government, we have empowered people with a sense of history. The resilience required to complete the race is the same as the tenacity of purpose necessary for everyone to accomplish their goals in life”’ the MD said.
Other Dignitaries at the event include, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai; Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung; President of Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Evang. Solomon Ogba; President, Confederation of African Athletics and IAAF representative, Colonel Hamad Kalkaba Malboun; chairman, House of Representatives Committee on sports, who represented the speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, officials of the National Sports Commission and members of the Lagos State executive council.
Tagged “Running from Old (Surulere) to New ( Eko Atlantic City), the event attracted prominent IAAF gold label runners like Abraham Kiptom, Peter Kiptoo Kiplagat, Amos Mitel, Sammy Kipkorir Kibet, Simpson Pkanaan Limareng, Nelson Kirwa Rotich, Kipkemboi Hosea, Philip Kiplagat Biwott Kenya and Isaac Kipkeboi Kosgei, Mehair Fesshaye and Ali Abdosh Muhammed all of whom took part in the 42km Lagos Marathon.