Philibus Sharabutu and Hudung Stephen on Sunday emerged the male and female champions of the ninth edition of the Splash FM Ibadan City Marathon Race.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Sharabutu was the winner of the male category in the 2011 edition and runner-up in both the 2013 and 2015 editions.
Sharabutu, who is from Plateau, emerged the new winner after completing the 42km race in 2 hours 36 minutes 46 seconds.
On her part, Stephen emerged the winner in the female category after completing the race in 3:08.37.
Sharabutu and Stephen went home with the prize money of N1 million and N700,000 respectively.
NAN reports that in the male category Pam Iliya emerged first runner-up and Abdulahi Ibrahim was the second runner-up.
In the female category, Elizabeth Nuhu and Kistinwa Stephen were second and third.
Iliya and Ibrahim went home with the prize money of N400,000 and N200,000 respectively, while Nuhu and Stephen went home with prize money of N250,000 and N150,000.
Adebayo Akande, the founder of Splash FM of Ibadan who are the race’s sponsors, expressed delight in the realisation of the ninth edition of the marathon race.
He pledged that they would ensure that the next edition had as participants athletes from other West African countries.
“In 2009, when we plunged into an uncharted territory of marathon events, we were not just standing alone as the first 42 km marathon race in Nigeria, it was the very first in West Africa.
“We assure you all that integrity, good governance, transparency and accountability, which are the bedrock upon which we built the race, remain our ultimate objectives.
“We recommit ourselves to playing a leading role in promoting the right values as a broadcast organisation, as well as a socially responsible entity,” Akande said.
Akande, who is the Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland, said he was excited with the renewed interest in marathon and other long distance races across the country.
“We are using the race to promote integrity, good governance and to campaign against corruption.
“In fact, one of the athletes who started the race with us is now a green card holder in the U.S.,” he said.
Abayomi Oke, the Oyo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, described the effort as a commendable one on the part of the initiator, saying it was an opportunity to grow grassroot sports.
Oke said that the state government was looking at other alternatives of making it an annual event and the promotion of other events.
He pledged the state government’s readiness to support the event and other sporting events in the state.
Speaking also, Temitope Olatoye, a member the House of Representatives, urged well-meaning Nigerians to support the race, saying it was a good cause that required the support of all.
Olatoye (APC-Lagelu/Akinyele), who was a co-sponsor of the edition, stated that he supported the event because it has contributed to the development of the state and the nation as a whole.
“The initiator has done well by engaging the youths in a meaningful way. This event to a large extent kept the hope of the youths alive, and also kept them away from crime,” he said.
The lawmaker said he would continue to support the event and encourage others to support it.
Wole Akinwande, the President, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), also said the event was an interesting one which helped to generate a lot of goodwill.
He said the event was a model for all to copy, adding that it contributed a lot to societal development, apart from promoting healthy living.
Akinwande promised to run for a cause in the next edition, adding that there were lots of causes to run for.
“I will run for a cause in the next edition. There are many causes to run for. There are many — motherless baby homes, orphans, widows, et cetera — in the land that we must support in every meaningful way,” he said.
NAN reports that the race featured several other races, among which was the “running for a cause’’ and secondary school races.
The dignitaries who participated in the 5 km “running for a cause’’ race included Babatunde Olaniyan, a former Oyo State Deputy Speaker.
Fatai Adesina, the Chairman of Oyo State House of Assembly Committee on Sports, also took part.
The event was sponsored by several individuals, companies, brands and media partners.