While there were no new records at the 2019 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon as many would have wished, there was still a lot to cheer and a lot of excitement at the IAAF Bronze Label race held on Saturday.
There were over 100, 000 runners at the starting point at the National Stadium for the 42km race and at Lekki Toll Gate for the 10km race.
It is, however, yet to be ascertained if indeed the Lagos race succeeded in its bid to set a new world record for the number of starters at a race.
Starters and finishers
The Guinness Book of World Records currently certiﬁes “Run for the Pasig River” held in Manila, the Philippines on December 26, 2010, with 116,086 starters as having the most participants in a running event.
New York City Marathon with 50,266 ﬁnishers in 2013 holds the world record for marathons with the highest number of ﬁnishers.
At the starting point in Surulere, there were all sorts of runners, with a larger chunk in it just for the fun of it.
Some of those who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they were running to keep fit and would go as far as their legs could carry them.
From the National Stadium in Surulere, the runners headed towards Anthony bus stop before they faced the Third Mainland Bridge, Lekki before ending at the Eko Atlantic City.
This was a beehive of activities with several artists taking their turns to thrill the fans.
The marathon race started by 6.30am and a little after two hours, the first runner arrived at the finish point, the Eko Atlantic City.
While it was Kenyans who outrightly won the first two editions of the Lagos Marathon, the third one was won by another Kenyan, but he has since adopted French citizenship.
Sintayehu Legese Yinesu outpaced Kenyans Joshua Kipkorir (2:18:16) & William Yegon (2:19:04) to win the men’s race, clocking 2:17:28 to cart home the ultimate prize of $50,000.
The Ethiopians were more dominant as they made it one, two, three.
Meseret Dinke won the women’s race in 2:48:02 ahead of her compatriots Alemnesh Herpa and Kabena Chala.
There was cheering news for all at the finish point as Deborah Pam who many call the Queen of Long-Distance races in Nigeria achieved a historic feat; breaking into the overall top female finishers.
Though some say her legs are getting tired, Deborah at her very best is very diﬃcult to beat as she has continually demonstrated that at every race that mattered in the country.
After dominating at the tortuous Obudu Mountain as well as Okpekpe races, Deborah has now spread her tentacles to Lagos where she is has become the ﬁrst female runner from Nigeria to win back-to-back titles as well as finish within the first 10.
For the male race, Goyet Gideon was the main man.
Having finished in the 8th position at last year’s race among Nigerians, the Plateau State runner outran his rivals this term.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES after the race, Goyet said extra work and determination did the job for him in Saturday’s race.
“I am very grateful to God for this, it wasn’t easy but I thank God, I know nobody gave me a chance but I’m glad I am a winner,” he said.
Iliya Pam and Tokbe C. Gwet finished in second and third place respectively among Nigerian men.
Bukola Olopade, CEO of Nilayo S.ports Management Limited and Race Consultant of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon said he was proud of the numerous gains from the Lagos race so far.
He was however quick to add that he and his team would not rest on their oars.
He said, “Sport is a veritable tool for empowerment. We’ve employed over 2000 people each year and engaged vendors. The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has changed the lifestyle of so many people; for instance, we now have more running clubs, which is one of the main purposes of the marathon, amongst other things”.
Entertainers D’banj, Olamide and Teni were all at the finish point where they thrilled the fans.
The winner of the men and women’s Marathon will get $50,000 each while 2nd and 3rd place will get $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
The Nigerian winners will get N3million each while 2nd and 3rd place will get N2million and N1million respectively.
Winners of the 10km race will each get a brand new car from Kia Motors, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will get N1 million and N750,000 respectively.
In the Wheelchair category, the top finishers will get N1million while 2nd and 3rd positions will get N750,000 and N500,000 respectively.