Will Another Abraham Win The 2019 Lagos City Marathon?
The Lagos City Marathon is one sport event that has light up the city that never sleeps – Lagos.
Since inception in 2016, the city has welcomed over 20,000 local and international runners in every edition competing for top prizes.
Among the runners are names like Moses, Lekan, Sheyi, Uche, Shehu, Shina, Elizabeth, Agnes, Georgina, and Janet among others. But prominent among these names is ABRAHAM.
The name is prominent because it has won all the past (three) editions of the Lagos City Marathon.
In 2016, the race was won by Kenyan athlete, Abraham Kiptum in 2 hours, 16mins, 21secs. He also won the prize of $50,000.
In 2017, Kiptum defended his title, finishing the race in 2 hours 15 minutes 20 seconds and won another $50,000, while his female compatriot Rodah Jepkori Tanuyi emerged as the first place winner in the women's category.
While Kiptum was overthrown in 2018, it was still an Abraham in Kiprotich who won the race.
Frenchman Abraham Kiprotich won the third edition of the Lagos City Marathon 42km race. The Kenyan-born 32-year-old finished in 2:13:04hrs to emerge the winner, carting away the grand prize of $50,000.
- Who will dethrone the Abrahams?
The Abrahams may not find it easy this year.
According to IAAF's Jon Mulkeen analysis, five of the top six finishers in the men’s race from last year return to Lagos, including defending champion Kiprotich, which means the competition will be stiffer.
Kiprotich has won three out of his past four marathons, ending 2018 with a season’s best of 2:10:55. The 33-year-old set his lifetime best of 2:08:33 when winning the 2013 Daegu Marathon. He may not need to replicate that time on Saturday, but he may need to improve upon his course record of 2:15:04 if he wants to hold on to his title.
Having finished a close second in 2017 and 2018, Ronny Kiboss, banking on the energy derived from a delicious local food called ‘amala’, will be highly motivated for Saturday’s race. The Kenyan’s 2:12:17 PB dates back to his marathon debut in 2014, but he is likely capable of a quicker time on a faster course, and hoping he is not distracted by local foods and other things in Lagos.
“Nigeria is a fantastic place; I was well received when I came right from the airport, till we got to the hotel.
“I also had my first experience with the local dish called Amala yesterday which I enjoyed so much. The food has a lot of energy and I enjoyed it.” Kiboss told a NAN correspondent at a press conference on Friday.
Benjamin Bitok and Joseph Kyengo Munywoki, who finished third and fourth respectively in 2018, also return to the Nigerian commercial capital. Bitok’s PB of 2:09:13 was set at the 2017 Rome Marathon, while Munywoki’s best of 2:10:21 came when winning in Dresden three years ago.
Jacob Kendagor’s PB of 2:07:33, set in Seoul in 2017, makes him the fastest in field. The Kenyan ran 2:10:08 in Daegu last year, which suggests he will be one of the leading contenders on Saturday.
Kenya’s 2008 world U20 steeplechase bronze medallist Patrick Kipyegon Terer will return to action after missing the entire 2018 season. He may not be ready just yet to challenge his 2:08:07 PB from his 2014 Prague Marathon victory, but he will still be hopeful of a good run this weekend.
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