East African runners have proven to be the best long distance runners in the world for the last five decades, and there was nothing to suggest a shift from this norm at the 4th Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
It was another clean sweep by runners from that part of the world at the marathon, which held on Saturday, 2nd February. The East Africans occupied all the podium spaces at the event and carted the prize money home.
Four Ethiopians and two Kenyans finished winners of the race, a slight change from last year’s event which saw both countries split the winning position three apiece.
Suntayahu Legese and Dinke Meseret, both from Ethiopia, became the new champions of the male and female events of the 2018 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
Legese crossed the finishing line first after 02:17:28hrs of running ahead of Kenyans, Joshua Kipkorir (02:18:16hrs) and William Yegon (02:19:04hrs), who finished as 1st and 2nd runners-up in the men's category.
While Ethiopians, Alemnesh Here (02:49:05hrs) and Kebena Chala (02:49:09hrs), came in just over a minute shy of Meseret's 02:48:02hrs championship time.
Their genes and 'will to win' have been cited by various researchers as the reason for their dominance and that was on show in the 42km race.
Of the top twenty runners in both categories, there were only two runners who were not from East Africa.
Sunday Manasa was the first Nigerian male to cross the finishing line, with a time of 02:21:11hrs, and Deborah Pam (02:52:59hrs) was the first Nigerian female to finish.
The wins by the Ethiopians on Saturday were their third and fourth victories at the IAAF approved bronze label marathon, which holds annually in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a record of the most wins by any country.
Kenyan-born France national, Abraham Kripotich, who is the record holder after his win in last year’s race, failed to make it the top 10 this time around but still has his record intact.
Beyond the Lagos marathon, though, the East Africans have also dominated the Olympic and Athletics championships’ long distance races, with names like Mohamed Farah, Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and a host of others coming to mind.
The Lagos City Marathon may have come and gone but East Africa’s dominance on the race track is very much likely to continue.