Kenya’s Cheptoeck Careen and officer of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Bayelsa State Command, Genevieve Njoku, yesterday emerged winners in the Open and Veteran categories of this year’s fourth edition 10 kilometres race of the Lagos Women Run held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State.
The race, which was flagged off by the wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, began at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan, eventually saw Careen winning the Women’s Open in a time of 28:55 to clinch first place, while Nigeria’s Deborah Pam came second in 31:05, as Elizabeth Nuhu Power finished third in 31: 52.
In the Veteran race for ages 45 to 70, Njoku triumphed in 43:03 to come first, while Ann Seriki was second in 45:19, as Bolanle Karim placed third in a time of 46:30.
Speaking on her feat, Careen, who came second at the maiden JAC Motors Abeokuta 10km Race in Abeokuta, Ogun State, expressed delight in victory.
“I am happy with the race and the organisation. It was not easy winning because the weather was very hot. But I thank God I won it. I ran in the 10km in Abeokuta race and I came over to Lagos to participate in this one.
“I finished second in Abeokuta because there were many Kenyans and Ethiopians. But here I was the only the Kenyan. I had to train hard, especially with the men twice a day. But I think today’s race is less than 10 kilometres,” she said.
Winner of the Veteran, Njoku said the race was fun aside from the health benefit. “I am very happy to win the Veteran race. I have been running when I was younger and now that I am older, it has been fun. I didn’t train well for this race, but God helped me,” she said.
For their efforts, Careen won a cash prize of N750, 000, Pam N500, 000 and Power got N300,000, aside from gifts from other sponsors. However, winners in the Veteran category were rewarded with the sum of N300,000, N200,000, and N100,000 for the winner, runner-up and second runner-up.
Speaking on the occasion, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu thanked the sponsors for their unflinching support, while suggesting the need to also create the men’s race.
“I noticed there are some men among us, I also think there is a need for Lagos Men Run, Lagos grandpa RUN to be organised. We just want to give God the glory for the opportunity to choose a date and we are all here to witness the 2019 Lagos Women RUN.
“We want to say thank you to Dr. Stella Okoli (Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceutical), and other sponsors for always encouraging the youth,” she said.
Coordinator of Lagos Women Run, Tayo Popoola, appreciated the runners on the success of the 2019 edition, saying the event would not have gained momentum without the support of the state government and the Sports Commission.
She said that despite hiccups the event ended in a great way, adding that more work will be done to make the next edition better.
“This has shown that this edition is different and I thank everybody that made this to be possible, the wife of the Lagos State Governor has made everything bigger.
“Today’s race was great, and very nice one even though we found out that some people came from Kenya and probably used addresses in Lagos. In the future race, we are actually going to try and see what we will do about that,” she said.