Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu Haileyesus set a new course record of 48 minutes and 57 seconds to win the women's race at the 6th Obudu International Mountain Race on Saturday at the Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State, Nigeria.
NEXT's Tunde Eludini reported that Ethiopians had a clean sweep of the podium in a race that also served as the 2nd African Mountain Running Championships with Melkamu's compatriots Daska Mamitu (49:04) and Yalemi Kas (50:06) second and third respectively.
For their efforts, the trio got $50,000, $20,000 and $9,000 respectively - the prize money set aside for the top three finishers in the women's race; it was likewise for the top three finishers in the men's race.
As was the case in the women's race, the Ethiopians also dominated the men's event.
Last year's second-place finisher, Abebe Dinkesa finished tops in a time of 42:21 to displace his countryman and defending champion Fikedu Awsah who finished second, thereby keeping the tradition at the Obudu International race where no athlete has successfully defended his or her title since inception.
However, John Sampol Manangat from Kenya made sure it was not another clean sweep for the Ethiopians as he finished the men's race in third place.
Dinkesa told NEXTSports, after the gruelling race, which covered a distance of 11 kilometres uphill to an altitude of 1,575 meters above sea level, that the secret of his country's success over the years was simply hard work.
"We don't have any secret, it is just hard work," he said. "We train very hard and that is why we win."
With their victory at this year's event, Ethiopians have now won four (male and female) of the six editions of the Obudu International Mountain Race, which is the highest paying mountain race in the world.
Nigeria's queen of the mountain, Janet Dung, got double honours by becoming the first Nigerian lady to cross the finish line and also record a top ten finish.
Dung got two thousand dollars for the first feat and an additional one thousand dollars for finishing 10th.
Looking ahead, Dung said she is capable of rubbing shoulders with the Ethiopians and Kenyans for top honours at future events but only if she is properly supported and motivated.
For the men, Cletus Itodo emerged as the first Nigerian male athlete to cross the finish line, and he got two thousand dollars for the feat.
- Abebe DINKESA ETH 42.21min
- Fikadu AWASH ETH 42.47min
- John Sompol MNANGAT KEN 42.58min
- Stephen KIPROTICH UGA 43.23min
- Meselech Melkamu HAILEYESUS ETH 48:57min
- Daska MAMITU ETH 49:04min
- Genet YALEW KASSAHUN ETH 50:06min
- Belainesh GEBRE ETH 50:37min
See full results below :-