Kenyan born French athlete, Kiprotich Abraham breased the tape in two hours, 13 minutes, four seconds to emerge winner of the third edition of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon yesterday, carting away the grand prize of $50,000.
Abraham’s time set a new Lagos Marathon record, three minutes better than the record set by his fellow compatriot, Abraham Kiptum in the second edition of the 42km annual tourney held last year.
Kenyan duo of Ronny Kipkoech Kiboss and Benjamin Bitok came second and third finishing in two hours, 13 minutes and 26 seconds and two hours, 13 minutes and 29 seconds, winning $40,000 and $30,000 USD respectively.
In the female category, it was a clean sweep by Ethiopia as the trio of Alemenesh Herpha Guta, Tigst Girma Getayechew and Ayelu Abebe Hordofa came first, second and third to win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 USD respectively.
Iliya Pam was the first Nigerian to finish the 42km race in two hours, 40 minutes, 16 seconds to win N3 million, while Sharubutu Philbus came second in two hours, 54 minutes and16 seconds to win N2 million while Kefas Williams also got on the medals table finishing third in a time of two hours, 58 minutes, 16 seconds to win the third prize of N1 million.
There were also prizes for Nigerians in the newly introduced 10km race, which saw Sajo Ismaila (male) and Ona Salay (female) drive home a brand new saloon car each and other mouth-watering prizes.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has unveiled plans to invest in training of Nigerian athletes to compete with elite athletes all over the world for the grand prize of the annual Marathon.
Speaking at this year’s edition of the tournament held at Eko Atlantic City (EAC), Victoria Island, Governor Ambode said he was tired of handing over the star prizes of the marathon to athletes from East Africa, assuring that concerted efforts would be made to reverse the trend and prepare Nigerians to compete favourably for the prizes.
He commended all the athletes and organisers who contributed to the successful hosting of the third edition of the tournament, assuring that efforts would be made to make the fourth edition, which will take place on February 9, 2019 bigger and better.
Also speaking, Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung commended the state government, organisers and sponsors of the Marathon, assuring that the Federal Government would partner with the state to prepare Nigerian athletes to compete at the top level with their foreign counterparts.
He also announced additional cash reward for Nigerian athletes who finished top in the male and female categories as well as young athletes.
The 42km race started at the National Stadium, Surulere by 6:30am and ended at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, while the 10km race also began from Osborne and terminated also at the Eko Atlantic City with over 100,000 athletes battling for the various prize monies.