Kiptum vows to retain Access Bank Lagos City Marathon title
The winner of the 2016 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum, has vowed not only to retain the title he won last year but also run a sub 2.10:00.
Athletics enthusiasts had tipped Kiptum’s compatriot Peter Kiplagat to win the first international marathon in Nigeria in 31 years, but Kiptum surprised bookmakers when he won in 2:16: 21.
In a statement made available by the Communications and Media Department of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Kiptum said though all eyes would be on him to repeat the feat, he would not allow the pressure to overwhelm him.
“I want to retain my title and run a sub 2:10:00 on February 11, 2017. I came to Lagos as an underdog, nobody gave a chance, and people were expecting Kiplagat to win, so I ran without any pressure. I know I will be the center of attraction on February 11, but am mentally and physically prepare for the challenge, I know am in good shape to win and do it under 2:100,” Kiptum said.
The marathoner also praised the Lagos weather and crowd for the support during the 2016 marathon event.
“For a city that does not have a marathon culture like we do in East Africa, I was shocked at the people’s enthusiasm and support for the runners. They cheered us so I am appealing to the Lagos crowd to please to come out again in their thousands and support us in February.”
“The weather was also agreeable, I was expecting it to be very hot but it wasn’t, the weather was good,” he added.
Kiptum praised the Lagos State Government and the sponsor, Access Bank for putting Nigeria on the global marathon map.
“I strongly believe that Nigeria can compete with the world in marathons and road races if they invest in the talents they have. Remember, about 30 years ago they had Abbas Muhammed who was doing 2:16:00 then. At the last outing; there was Philip Sharabutu who ran 2:30:51 and some other young runners who finished the race under 2:40:00. If these runners are supported with the right coaches and they run regularly, they can catch up with the rest of the world in five years,” Kiptum concluded.