50,000 runners battle for $500,000 as Lagos marathon begins today


The 8th Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, on Saturday, kicked off amidst fanfare, with runners expecting a good show.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the marathon began at 7:00 a.m. at National Stadium, Surulere, with Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on the sidelines for a start.

50,000 runners, local and international, are participating in the marathon for $500,000 cash prize.

Other dignitaries at the starting point include the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Olusegun Dawodu; Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku; Head of Technical for the race, Yusuf Ali, among others.

Some runners who spoke to NAN expressed readiness for the race, with many expectant of having fun.

Mrs Itoro Jacobs said she was always looking forward to the race in which she had participated for the past four years.

“I have been participating for the past four years, though the East Africans have been dominating the race and taking the prize money.

“We can’t actually measure up to the East Africans because they are professionals with six months of training; for me, I am just running for fun.

“I always look forward to the race every year because it is a time to lose weight, interact and make friends with people,” she said.

Another runner, a youth corps member in Lagos, Patience Samuel, told NAN that her mother encouraged her to run.

“This is my first time participating in the marathon. My mum actually encouraged me to join the runners.

“I am looking forward to some fun as my mum told me. I also want to keep fit,” she said.

Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Gbadegesin also said that the marathon was an opportunity for him to know how his body would react to stress.

“I joined the race about two years ago; I want to know how much stress I can withstand because I am not getting younger.

“The marathon is a good avenue for me to assess my health and know my fitness, I want to live long and this marathon is a test of my health status,” he said.

The chairman, Nilayo Sports Management Limited, organisers of the race, Bukola Olopade, told NAN that he was looking forward to any athlete that would break the record.

“People should expect the race to be fun, especially for me, I am looking forward to anyone that would break the record.

“We still have one thing to look forward to and that is the two hours mark, we have had close to the time but we need someone that will break the finish line in two hours, a world record time.

“We have additional 10,000 dollars for that athletes that break the records,” he said.


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