Bernard Sang from Kenya clinched victory at the 9th Lagos City Marathon, crossing the finish line in a swift time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 49 seconds.
Sang, who previously secured third place in 2023, outpaced his compatriots, Silas Cheprot, finishing in 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 33 seconds, and Geofrey Birgen, who secured third position with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 42 seconds.
Expressing his joy, Sang mentioned his surprise at winning, especially after finishing eighth and third in previous editions. He remarked, “I feel very happy winning this Lagos marathon because they are paying on time and it is a very great race. This is my fourth time. I was number 8 last year, and I am coming back next year.”
Birgen, who ranked ninth in 2023, expressed contentment with his performance despite challenging weather conditions. He stated, “I’m happy for the position today, so because of the weather, I thank God for the position. I have been running in the Lagos Marathon for four years, and I have also been in the top ten. I was ninth last year, and I am happy to be third this time.”
In the women’s category, Ethiopian athlete Chala Kebene emerged victorious with a time of 2 hours, 41 minutes, and 1 second. Kebene, who secured second place in 2023, finished ahead of Kenyan runners Margaret Agai and Sharon Cherop.
Agai, debuting at the marathon, completed the race in 2 hours, 41 minutes, and 41 seconds, while Cherop, the marathon record holder, finished in 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 6 seconds, a time slightly slower than her 2020 record.
Cherop, who returned to competitive racing after maternity leave, expressed satisfaction with her third-place finish and revealed her upcoming goal of participating in the Boston Marathon. She remarked, “I think today it was much humid but I’m happy with the third position. I came back from maternity when my twins were not up to a year old. I was not ready in 2022, but this year I was ready. After this, it is probably Boston Marathon.”
Addressing concerns about weather conditions, Nadeem Khan, President of the International Association of Ultra Runners, emphasised the importance of considering race temperatures for optimal athlete performance.
Khan stated, “As we go to the future, we need to be looking at these temperatures so that we don’t punish the athletes; we don’t let the athletes run in a situation where they may have a problem or they may not be comfortable, because if they are not comfortable, obviously they will not produce their best. So I think we are getting the information right.”
The Lagos City Marathon holds a Gold Label Race status, and organisers intend to apply for an upgrade to Platinum status from World Athletics. If successful, Nigeria could become the first African nation to host a platinum event.
Khan, also a Vice President of World Athletics, assured a thorough review of the event organisation. He concluded, “I’m sure, with this kind of organisation, we are going to sit down, look at it, assess everything. There are so many other things we look at, not just the time. There are so many other issues we need to look at and we’ll get the reports from the technical officials, then we can decide what to do”,
The marathon saw participation from over 60,000 runners, with winners in each category receiving $30,000, runners-up earning $25,000, and third-place finishers awarded $20,000.