Sports

Kaduna Marathon: Kenya, Plateau athletes dominate maiden edition

…as 15-year-old Yohanna emerges 21k winner

 

It was all Kenyans in the top three of the male and female categories of the maiden edition of the Kaduna Marathon which took place in the ancient city on Saturday, November 21.

 

The first post COVID-19 race in the country was won by John Mburu who clocked a time of 1:04.02 to beat his compatriots, Philip Taurus and Josphat Chobei to second and third position with time of 1:05.20 and 1:05.78 respectively.

 

Just like the men’s race, Caren Maiyo led a clean sweep for Kenya in the women’s, taking the title in the 21km race in 1:12.43. Caren Cheptoeck (1:15.26) and Lilian Chemweno (1:15.32) settled for second and third position respectively. Maiyo disclosed that this was her first time in Nigeria and will be hoping to make a return next year.

 

Top Nigeria long distance runner, Emmanuel Gyang, was the man to beat as he raced to the first position  among the country’s runners while finishing the race in the fifth position overall with time of 01:16.59. He inspired Plateau State to claim the top three Nigerian spots, and he was followed by Monday Auta and Stephen Joshua.

 

Speaking after his race Gyang, who for the first time in recent years was competing alone without the presence of his wife, Deborah Pam, said: “I’ve been around and a champion for 15 years, so it’s not an easy task. “I haven’t been training since the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic. My performance in Kaduna is the outcome of just 13 days of training.

 

“I really miss not having my wife here, but I believe she’s with me in the spirit. She told me early this morning to focus because she’s with me, and I truly believe so.”

 

Meanwhile, 15-year-old teenager, Vera Yohanna, was the surprise winner of the women’s event in the Nigerian category of the Kaduna Marathon, a race which was only her second marathon.

 

She finished 5th overall in the women’s race and crossed the line ahead of the more experienced Rose Akusho, Hudung Gyang and Fadekemi Olude to claim the N3million prize.

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