Ethiopian runners Habtamu Awash and Manilu Daska have won the men's and women's titles respectively at the fifth Obudu Ranch Mountain Race, held yesterday in the southern Cross River state of Nigeria.
According to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) both race winners each clinched the US$50,000 top prize.
Awash won the 11-kilometre race in 42 minutes, three seconds, followed by Geoffrey Kusuro of Uganda, who came second in 42.11 and received the US$20,000 prize money, and McDonald Ondara who was third in 42.14 a nd pocketed US$9,000.
Defending men's champion Abebe Dinkesa of Ethiopia was beaten to the fifth position.
In the women's event, Daska won in 49.12, followed by Mastawet Tufa (49.31) and Meselech Heleyesus (49.54). Tufa received US$20,000 while Heleyesus got US$9,000.
Women's defending champion Andrea Meyer of Austria was absent due to the injury she sustained in a car accident in her country.
The newly-introduced African Nations' Obudu Mountain Race Championship was won by Ethiopia, followed by Uganda and Nigeria.
For their efforts, Ethiopia got US$15,000, Uganda US$10,000 and Nigeria US$7,500.
The best Nigerian runner in this year's race was Danjuma Gyang, who won the men's category in 48.57, while the best Nigerian woman was Janet Duru, who breasted the tape in 59.56.
The children's race introduced by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN)to groom mountain runners from a tender age was dominated by kids from Obaliku local government, Obudu, as they cleared all the titles.
Raphael Akem and Dorcas Apawa won the boys and girls races and went home with a cash prize of N100,000 each, with the second and third places winners in the children's race got N80,000 and N50,000 each
The race was witnessed, for the first time, by the President of the World Mountain Race Association (WMRA), Bruno Gozzelimo.