Kenyans sweep victories as curtains fall on maiden Abuja International Marathon

Athletes from around the world gather in Abuja for the maiden Abuja International Marathon, sponsord by Seven Up Bottling Company on April 29, 2023. Photo by Light Oriye

The Abuja International Marathon on Saturday produced its first set of champions as Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibet and Bahrain runner Ruth Jebet emerged as the winners of the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

Despite the myriad challenges that beset organizing the first edition of the Abuja International Marathon, the heavens were kind to the historic race held Saturday at the Federal Capital Territory.

Usually in April, the beautiful city of Abuja is synonymous with torrential rainfall but on Saturday 29 April, the city provided perfect weather that aided Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibet emerge champion of the first Abuja International Marathon with a time of 2:13: 45.

The winning time is the best ever recorded in any first edition of Marathon races in Nigeria

This is the second time Naibet is winning a marathon in Nigeria having also won the 2021 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

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Finishing in second position was Benard Sang 2:13:49 while Ezekiel Koech ensured it was a complete sweep for Kenya in the men’s category with a time of 2:13:51.

In the women’s category Ruth Jebet from Bahrain stole the show as she won with a time of 2.36.08 while Kenya’s Mercy Kwambai was second with a time of 2:38:17 Dida Negasa from Ethiopia with  2:40:16 settled for third spot.

There were also keen competitions for prizes in the 10km and 5km races which were dominated by fun runners and students from across the Abuja metropolis