Koech and Guta claim top prize at Lagos City Marathon
The eighth edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon was billed to be a straight duel between course record holder David Barmassia and Ethiopia’s Hayla Worku, but on a morning in which the conditions were very humid and with temperatures reaching 35 degrees, it was Edwin Kibet Koech who brazed the odds to take the first marathon win of his career in 2:14:06.
Edwin Kibet Koech wins the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo
Koech hasn’t necessarily had a glittering career as a marathon runner, and although he has raced in some other big city half-marathon in Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona, the 39-year-old was no spring chicken heading into the race in the commercial capital of Nigeria.
Race favorite Worku set the pace in the opening 10km but began to fade off with Barmassia taking a slight lead, while Koech waited on the wings to capitalize on any mistake. And as the approached the halfway point of the race at the iconic third mainland bridge, the descending course played into his hands as he took charge of the race.
After opening a decent lead and trotting towards his first marathon win, Koech whose frail body looked like he was running on reserve fuel held on for the win in front of an electric Eko Atlantic city.
Ethiopia’s Dekiba Tefa tried to push Koech in the last kilometer, but the clammy conditions were taking its toll on him as he eventually settled for second in 2:14:54. Bernard Sang was way back in third in 2:17:14.
Herpa Guta wins the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon for the second time, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo
Over in the women’s race, Herpha Guta became the first woman ever to win the Lagos marathon twice after she fended off a late surge from her compatriot Dekiba Tafa to take the win in 2:40:42, two seconds ahead of Tafa. Kenya’s Naomi Manyo was third in 2:40:56.
This Lagos marathon attained its Gold label status this year and will be looking to elevate the profile of the race that has gone on to become Africa’s most participated running event.
Men’s Top 3 at the Access Bank Lagos Marathon
1. Edwin Kibet Koech 2:14:06
2. Dekeba Tafa 2:14:54
3. Bernard Sang 2:17:14
Women’s Top 3 at Access Bank Lagos Marathon
1. Herpha Guta 2:40:42
2. Dekeba Tafa 2:40:44
3. Naomi Manyo 2:40:56