By Ben Efe
The 2019 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon ran its full course on February 2 in Lagos. Thrilled by the out come, Access Bank boss Herbert Wigwe, has vowed to give more muscle and support to future editions.
Over 100,000 professional athletes and keep fit enthusiasts participated in the race, which has continued to attract global attention. As usual East African athletes dominated the race and won the top prizes. However, Nigerian runners like Deborah Pam demonstrated that in no distance future, they too will begin to rub shoulders with the world elite athletes.
Plateau State-born Pam who is dubbed the queen of Nigerian long-distance, finished 2.52.59 seconds to place sixth overall in the women race, which Ethiopian Denke Meserate, finished tops with 2.47.38 seconds to pocket to the $50,000. The men’s race was won also by Ethiopia’s Sintayehu Legese with a time of 2.17.24 seconds.
The Access Bank managing director who had witnessed every race since inception, expressed gratitude to all the marathoners from the over 52 countries, co-sponsors, media and Lagos State Government for making it a huge success. He stated that it was his desire to see the race command more international attention just like his organisation is trying to achieve. He called on the race organisers to redouble their efforts so that the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon can achieve a gold label status.
“Access Bank will ensure this marathon gets better every year as we target world class outings till we achieve the silver and gold label rating from IAAF. The brave spirit of the men and women that ran today represent the core value of Access Bank’s journey to becoming Africa’s gateway to the world.
“Our focus is to advancing Nigeria’s blossoming drive for health and fitness. We have made it our responsibility to encouraging the general public and create value for stakeholders,” Wigwe said.
Wigwe called on Nigerian athletes and coaches to work harder and achieve world standards, so they can compete keenly with the world elite athletes for the $50,000 top prize. He added that the 2020 edition will be bigger and better.
“More goodies await our athletes in the 2020 edition, but my advice is for our athletes to stop complaining and condemning the organisers.
“They should focus on how to better their living standard by making good use of the many opportunities provided by Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. The IAAF and people from different parts of the world are commending us for the good work we did. It will be bigger and better in 2020,” he stated.