Ali Points Nigeria Runners to East African Dominance in 2023 Lagos City Marathon

The East African dominance continued in this year’s Access Bank Lagos City Marathon which flagged off today at the National Stadium in Surulere.

After finishing second in 2022, Kenyan, Edwin Kibet Koech went a step further to claim the ultimate prize of $50,000 by breasting the tape first in 2:14:06 while Dekeba Shefa of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Bernard Sang finished second and third in 2:14:54 and 2:17:14 respectively.

The first Nigerian man to finish the race was Gyang Boyi Nyango who received N1m for his efforts.

He finished ahead of 2nd placed Adamu Muazu and Friday Yohanna in 3rd.

Top three men; Bernard Sang (Kenya)🥉Edwin Kibet (Kenya)🥇Dekeba Tafa (Ethiopia)🥈

The performances of Nigeria’s male athletes in the 42KM City Marathon once again left home spectators wondering when the national record set by Abass Mohammed in 1984 will be lowered.

A hugely concerned Yusuf Ali, the General Manager of the race organisers, pinpointed key areas Nigerian marathoners needed to work on before they could rise to the occasion.

The former African record holder in long jump advised the athletes to take a cue from their East African counterparts:

“You must agree with me that running in marathon is not an easy task.

“It takes good coaching and mileage.

“Our athletes don’t have enough mileage.

“These athletes (East Africans) you see them they put in about 120 miles per week.

“Our athletes don’t do that and that’s one of the biggest problems we have .

“For you to do well in marathon you must have that  mileage and our athletes don’t have that.

“Once they can start learning and have that patience to follow, they have the capacity to do well.”

There could be hope rising from the Nigerian women as veteran Deborah Pam continued her fine run in the championship.

She clocked 2:48:33 to place 10th as the first Nigerian lady to finish the distance, with Elizabeth Nuhu and Dimatu Yahana ending the race respectively in second and third positions.

However it was an Ethiopian women 1-2 affair as Alemenesh Guta picked up the $50,000 first place prize money for the second time in 2:40:42 to follow her feat in 2018 edition.

L-R: Naomi Maiyo (Kenya), Alemeneshi Herena Guta (Ethiopia) and Urisa Kebene Chala (Ethiopia).

Urisa Kebene Chala also from Ethiopia came second in 2:40:42 while Kenya’s Naomi Maiyo who came third at the 2022 edition maintained her spot this year with a time of 2:40:56.

A total of 50,000 athletes, including 76 foreign runners from 22 countries across the world, participated in the 42km road race.

This year’s edition of the marathon provided huge entertainment for spectator at the finish line as popular Nigeria music acts Niniola and Zlatan electrified the excited crowds with some of their popular songs.

Promising a bigger entertaining package for 2024, the former Ogun State sports commissioner Chief Bukola Olopade who owns the consulting firm to the race, Nilayo Sports, revealed that next year’s prize monies would surely go up.

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