As part of efforts to encourage Nigerians who will participate in the 42.195km Access Bank’s Lagos marathon race billed for February 10, the first Nigerian to emerge winner will get a whooping sum of N3million.
The General Manager of the marathon, Mr Yusuf Alli disclosed this on Wednesday in an exclusive chat with Daily Trust. He said the first ten marathon winners will win a total of $208,000.
He added that the first winner of the full marathon will be rewarded with $50,000, while the second winner and third are to receive $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
He further explained that the remaining seven winners out of the first top ten will take home $25,000, $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $8,000, $6,000 and $4,000 accordingly.
Alli said: "So, if a Nigerian man wins the full marathon before anyone else, he will get the $50,000 plus the N3m"
"This year’s winner could be a Kenyan, Uganda, Ethiopian, or a Nigerian; we don’t even know. But it’s going to be very difficult for a Nigerian to run that fast and far. Our best marathon record is about 2hrs 15mins as far back as 1984 by Abass Muhammad. If we had improved on that, maybe by now we would be doing better. But Nigeria as a whole went to sleep; hopefully we will get back the glory."
"The more a Nigerian runs for the marathon, trains and jogs everyday, the better for us. If we can imbibe the culture of running, keeping fit, I think maybe one day we will win. For me to think a Nigerian will win this year, it will be very hard, but it is not impossible."
The marathon GM noted that out of over 100,000 forms which were collected by participants, only over 40,000 have been returned.
"In Nigeria, people like to do their things at the last minute. We know many won’t return theirs until a day or two before the race. We know that and we will accommodate it."
He advised the marathoners: "Make sure you are fit and ready, if you have any medical condition, see the doctor to confirm if you can run or not. We have water along the road as well as energy drinks, doctors, referees. If the referee feels the person is tired, he will ask such person to take a break. Before you pick up your running number, we are going to check your medical condition to know how fit you are. Every participant must know his or her health; if you cannot reach the finishing point, don’t worry, you can always try another time. It’s not a must for everyone to win."
He urged the government and corporate bodies to assist in terms of increasing the number of races in the country adding that Nigeria should borrow a leaf from New York where there are 73 road races in a year.