Kenya‘s reigning World Marathon champion Luke Kibet and Netherland's Lornah Kiplagat, three-time World Half-Marathon and Road Running champion, both clinched the men's and women's titles at the 2nd Glo Lagos International Half Marathon on Saturday.
Running the 21-kilometre race in extreme hot and humid conditions, pre-race favourite Kibet beat a strong men's field, including the Beijing Olympics marathon bronze medallist, Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, leading from start to finish in a time of one hour, seven minutes and 49 seconds.
Kebede was more than a minute behind in second place with 1:08.52 while Kenyan Nixon Kiprono Kipyego was third in 1:09.14.
Defending Lagos marathon champion Dieudonne Disi of Rwanda fourth with 1:10:14, with another Kenyan Festus Langat fifth in 1:10:41.
In the women's race, Lornah Kiplagat eased to victory in one hour, 16 minutes and 23 seconds, more than three minutes clear of her cousin and another former Kenyan athlete Hilda Kibet, who settled for second in 1:19:27.
Kenyan Jane Gakunyi was third (1:20.25) and Uganda Adero Nyasiki was fourth (1:20.25).
Kiplagat took up Dutch citizenship after marrying coach/manager Pieter Langerhorst in 2003 and her cousin Hilda Kibet, the European cross country champion is also a naturalised Dutch.
After the race, Kiplagat told journalists: "This is an excellent race, indeed, my very best race because everything has worked out so well and I won the race.
"With my achievements in athletics, I believe I am a role model for young African girls just like Globacom is a model for other companies in Africa".
"It has been beautiful in Nigeria despite the harsh weather which made the race a bit difficult. All the same, I am looking forward to the next edition and will certainly participate if I am invited", she added.
Both winners received the top prize of US$ 50,000 in Africa's richest half marathon and next on the line for Kibet is the Flora London Marathon on April 26, 2009.
On the local front, Obudu Mountain Race winner Stephen Jurbe from Kaduna State led the Nigerian men finishers in one hour, 17 minutes and 15 seconds with Plateau State duo of Ismaila Harris and Danjuma Gyang second (1:17.15) and third (1:19.46) respectively.
Benue State's Mary Akor, based in the United States, came 10th overall but was the first Nigerian female across the TBS finish point in one hour, 28 minutes and 31 seconds, ahead of ahead of Bayelsa State's Genevieve Njoku (1.33:21) and Plateau‘ State's Ladi Musa Henry (1.44:01).
Both Nigerian winners in the male and female categories went home with brand new KIA Picanto cars while other top finishers got cash prizes.
The race sponsored by telecommunications giant, Globacom had over 40 elite athletes from Kenya , Uganda , Ethiopia , Rwanda , Ghana , South Africa and the Netherlands
- Luke Kibet Kenya 1:07.49
- Tsegaye Kebede Ethiopia 1:08.52
- Nixon Kiprono Kipyego Kenya 1:09.14
- Dieudonne Disi Rwanda 1:10:14
- Festus Langat Kenya 1:10:41
- Lornah Kiplagat Netherlands 1:16:23
- Hilda Kibet Netherlands 1:19:27
- Jane Gakonyi Kenya 1:20:06
- Agnes Nyasiki Uganda 1:20:25
- Irene Kipchumba Kenya 1:21:05