Kiptum promises to keep title, runs sub 2.10:00 at meet

Kenya's Kiptum Wins Lagos City Marathon in 2016.

Kenya’s Kiptum Wins Lagos City Marathon in 2016.

Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum, the surprise winner of last year’s edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, has declared not only to retain the title he won last year, but also run a sub 2.10:00.

His compatriot, Peter Kiplagat, was favoured by athletics buffs to win the first international marathon in Nigeria in 31 years but Kiptum proved bookmakers wrong when he won in 2.16: 21.

According to Kiptum, “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 Kiplaglat 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 also praised the Lagos crowd and the weather, “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.”

Kiptum commended the Lagos State government and the sponsor, Access Bank, for putting Nigeria on the global marathon map again.

“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 Abbass 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,’’ said Kiptum.

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