Deji Ogeyinngbo has been speaking about the Access Bank Lagos Marathon for a few months now. Deji will be covering the Lagos marathon on site this coming weekend, for RunBlogRun. This is Deji’s second piece on the Lagos marathon.
2021 Access Bank Lagos marathon: Who and what to watch out for?
The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon which is the biggest mass participation sporting event in Africa’s most populous city will feature some fascinating elite races on the commercial capital’s streets on Saturday morning.
The coolest weather in the city (26 degrees) at this Saturday’s race means that runners competing in the marathon could have possibly their most temperate weather since the World Athletics Silver Label Road race started in 2015.
In what promises to be the most joyous and uplifting edition since its inaugural edition in 2015, this year’s marathon promises to thrill both local and international audiences. Come 6am on Saturday morning, over 10,000 people will start a 42.2km journey from the National Stadium, Surulere to Eko Atlantic as they hope to finish one of the most daunting races since human existence.
While this year’s Lagos Marathon does not boast household superstars such as the world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, or Brigid Kosgei, both events are still bursting with quality and high intrigue.
Let’s take a look at some of the key contenders for this year’s race;
Matthew Kisorio (Kenya) (2:04:53)
This is the first time a sub 2:05 runner will be gracing the Lagos marathon. That in itself is special, considering the fact that Matthew Kisorio hasn’t raced in just over two years. Regardless, the distance runner is still a top marathon runner having won or finished in the Top 3 of big races in the past including the Beijing Marathon in 2019. He enters this year’s field as the only athlete to have gone under 2:07 three times and under 2:08 five times in his career.
Titus Kipruto (Kenya) (2:05:21)
Very few distance runners can boast of a 2:05 PB in their very first race. That was what Titus Kipruto’s achieved when he placed 4th at the Rotterdam last year October. Most elite and professional runners make a decent living running between 2:08 and 2:12. A prospect that makes Kipruto’s entry into the Lagos marathon rather fascinating as he could throw the cats amongst the pigeons.
David Barmasai (Kenya) (2:07:53)
The 2020 champion and course record holder with 2:10:23 returns to Lagos for the second time in his career hoping to reclaim the title he won two years back. Barmasai first made a huge impact in his first race outside Kenya when winning the 2011 Dubai Marathon in 2.07.18, a time that still remains his Personal Best. He has been struggling with a knee injury since then and is looking to re-establish himself among the elite on Saturday having just raced once each year since 2019.
Also, watch out for Ronald Korir (2:07:29) and Robert Kwambai (2:07:00) of Kenya as they could cause an upset.
Flomena Cheyech (Kenya) 2:21:22
Sitting 84th on the All-time World’s ranking of the best female marathoner with a PB of 2:21:22, Flomena Cheyech has a glittering CV over the marathon. The Glasgow 2014 marathon Gold medalist returns to road racing for the first time since 2018 having won some of the world’s best races in the past. Her biggest win to date came at the 2014 Paris marathon.
Sharon Cherop (Kenya) 2:22:28
It’s going almost a decade since Sharon Cherop ran a blistering race on the fast course of the Berlin marathon to clock a PB of 2:22:28. Since then, she hasn’t been able to run below 2:23. Her performance in Lagos of 2:31:40 still stands as the course record and she will be hoping to lower that mark this year.
Meseret Dinke (Ehtiopia) 2:25:12
Ehtiopia’s Meseret Dinke came close to breaking Cherop’s record last year as she ran the course in 2:32:16. Since then, she has gone on to clock 2:25 in both Vienna and Valencia, two courses that are famed to be very fast. Dinke is relatively young, compared to Cheyech and Cherop, but that’s what makes the race all the more exciting.
Of course, the Lagos marathon will still be a bit different this year, with measures in place to make it Covid safe after last year’s edition. Running for clubs and charity courses have been suspended for this year, while the top prize for the winners for both male and female still remains at 30,000 Dollars.
Also, pacers have been brought back for this year’s race in order to ensure the course record is taken down in both categories. The clock is ticking!
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