Top Kenya marathoner, Alice Timbilil, yesterday praised the courage of two Nigerian marathoners, Oluwaseun Olumide and Ronke Olumudi who have vowed to win the ultimate prize of $50,000 at the February 11, 2017 Access Bank/Lagos City Marathon but was quick to add that such wishes remain mere dream for now.
With a personal best of 2:25.03, Timbilil who was second at the 2016 edition of the Access Bank /Lagos City Marathon in 2:38.49, said: “The feats of British runners like Paula Radcliff, the Japanese, the Chinese and even the Americans have shown that one does not need to be born in high altitude, be a Kenyan, Ethiopian, or East African to excel in marathons and road races but it does not happen overnight.
Timbilil however have a word of advice for the two Nigerian road runners: “It will take many years of consistent hard work and competitions for Nigerian and indeed West African road runners to get to the level attained by the East Africans in road races.”
She however welcomed the idea of Nigerians embracing marathons and road races since Kenyans too are also moving into short sprints, throws and jumps,
“The more the merrier, it will be great to have Nigerians on the international marathons and road races circuit, they are our brothers and sisters, that means more money for Africans and Africa from the highly lucrative road running circuit.”
The Kenyan runner posited that for Nigerians to join the global elites, they need to have more marathons at home.
“The Access Bank/Lagos City Marathon is not enough; you guys need more races at home and a developmental programmes that will start at the school level.”
Timbilil who placed second at the last edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is determined to win the ultimate prize at this year’s edition.
She made her marathon debut in 2008 and her first major race of 2010 came at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon which she won in a time of 1:10:34, beating home favourite, Rosaria Console.
Two years later at the 2010 Amsterdam Marathon she was among the leaders from the start and by the 35 km mark she had outrun the field, eventually winning the race by a margin of two minutes with a personal best of 2:25:03.