Bet9ja, “Nigeria’s foremost bookmaker” and partner of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, has hailed Lagosians, Nigerians and runners from various parts of the globe for their massive turnout at the 3rd edition of the event held last Saturday.
Over 100,000 runners of various nationalities jammed the streets of Lagos to fascinate the world with the sights and sounds of the city and Bet9ja says it is proud to join in the successful delivery of the event which now heads for a possible direct IAAF Gold Label after attaining a Bronze Label status in just two years.
“We’re so impressed with the turnout of Lagosians, Bet9ja fans and just all the athletes, families and even the kids who came out to run for the passion of running! That’s why we’re partners with this kind of event. Because it brings people from all walks of life together to achieve a common goal: to reach the finish line no matter what.To beat the odds. Thats what Lagosians have done,” said Bet9ja representative, Tunji Meshioye,
Kenya long-distance runner, Abraham Kiprotich won the Marathon returning 2hrs 15mins 4secs to cart away the grand prize of $50,000.
Kiprotich’s time set a new Lagos City Marathon record, three minutes better than his compatriot, Abraham Kiptum, ran in the second edition of marathon last year.
Kenyan duo of Ronny Kipkoech Kiboss and Benjamin Bitok came second and third finishing in 2:13:23hrs and 2:13:29hrs to take home $40,000 and $30,000, 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 also win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 prizes of the event which insists on gender equality.
Iliya Pam was the first Nigerian to finish the 42km race in 2:40:19hrs to win N3m; while Sharubutu Philbus came second in 2:54:16hrs to win N2m while Kefas Williams also got joined the medals table finishing third in a time of 2:58:1hrs to win N1m.
There were also prizes for Nigerians in the newly introduced 10km race which saw Sajo Ismaila (male) and Ona Salay (female) drive home brand new saloon cars each courtesy of GAC Motors whose Chairman Chief Diana Chen is puking all stops to support sports development and public health in Nigeria.
The event also presented a special EAD category for physically challenged persons, an attraction which saw former Nigerian international athlete, Omojola Alinco, fly in from the United States to participate. The New Jersey based Omojola had represented and won medals for Nigeria at the All Africa and Commonwealth Games as well as in Wheelchair Basketball Championships and had featured in various international road races including the New York, Boston, Chicago, New York Half marathons, the Boilermaker 15km race and the Pennsylvania Blue Cross 10 miles race which he won.
Meanwhile, envious of the huge prize haulage of the elite athletes from outside Nigeria, the event Chief Host, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, unveiled plans on the day to invest in the training of Nigerian athletes to raise their capacity to compete for the mouth-watering prizes.
“My promise to Nigeria is this; I’m tired of giving this award to the East Africans and so Lagos State is going to commit professional coaches and then we will go to Jos and then come back in two years’ time to give them (East Africans) a fight for their money,” Ambode declared.
The fourth edition Lagos City Marathon will take place on February 9, 2019.