By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole said at the weekend that the Okpekpe 10km International Road Race has come to stay even as he has competed for the last time as the chief executive of the state.
Oshiomhole who completed the race just as he has done in the last three editions, was full of emotions recalling how he opened up the community to the world.
“Seven years ago when we came here to campaign, we had to use bush paths to get here. Our vehicles got stuck. That made us resolve to build roads so that those here can equally enjoy the amenities found in the cities.
“ It was the construction of the road here that made it possible for us to have this 10km road race that has now put Okpekpe on the world map. Even as I leave office as governor, I want to assure everyone here that I will continue to participate in the road race. The Okpekpe 10km International Road Race has come to stay. God willing, the competition will outlive us all with our children taking over the organization,” Oshiomhole prayed while praising promoter of the race, Mike Itemuagbor for his resilience and courage.
Kenyan Simon Cheprot (29:48), Smail Juma Gnuet of Tanzania (29:50) and Timothy Toroitich of Uganda (29min: 54sec) finished first, second and third respectively. The winner pocketed $15,000, runner up $10,000 while the third placed runner got $7,000.
In the women’s category, Polline Wanjiku Njeru (33min: 23sec) and Esther Ndiema (33min: 35sec ) both of Kenya emerged winner and runner up. Buzunesh Gutalshor (33min: 58sec ) of Ethiopia got the consolatory bronze. All three got similar prize monies like the male runners.
In the Nigerian category, Adamu Shehu, Stephen Joshua and Emmanuel Gyang, all from Plateau State finished first, second and third respectively in the men race. They went home with N250,000, N100,000 and N80,000 respectively.
Plateau State-born Deborah Pam, Olamide Oluwaseun Serah (Ogun State) and Elizabeth Nuhu of Nasarawa State won the first, second and third position and were given N250,000; N100,000 and N80,000 in that order as prize money.
In the category created for runners from the communities around Okpekpe, the runner from the host community, Raphael James and Mary Enodube won the male and female category race and were given the prize money of N150,000 respectively.