Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibet Jebet and former Olympic champion Ruth Jebet on Saturday emerged champions of the maiden Abuja International Marathon.
Naibet clocked a time of 2:13: 45 to win the men’s senior marathon race, which is the best recorded in any maiden edition of Marathon races in Nigeria.
His countryman Benard Sang was second in 2:13:49, and Ezekiel Koech finished third in 2:13:51, ensuring it was a complete sweep for Kenya.
Naibet beat about 120 elite marathoners on Saturday to win the 42km race to claim the grand prize of $50,000.
His compatriots Benard Sang and Ezekiel Koech who finished second and third respectively, will go home with $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
The victory is Naibet’s second marathon win on Nigerian soil, having won the 2021 Lagos City marathon.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet was the first woman to cross the finish line at two hours, thirty-six minutes and eight seconds. She bested Kenya’s Mercy Kwambai and Dida Negasa of Ethiopia who finished second and third respectively.
The 42km race began at the Abuja City Gate and terminated at Eagle Square.
Speaking on his feat, Naibet admitted that the race was tough, adding that he was excited to beat other competitors.
“I don’t even know what to say. So happy that I did it here —— but it’s just a great day, a great race,” he said.
“The race was amazing, with the cheers and everything. I’m just thankful.”
There were also keen competitions for prizes in the other different races including the school marathon for students (5km) and the family race (10km).