The third edition of the highly anticipated Lagos Marathon headlined by Access Bank took place on Saturday, 10th of February, 2018. There is no doubt that it was always going to be a fun time at the event; the fun however didn’t come without some unnecessary and avoidable drama.
As publicised, the 42km and 10km races started at 6:30am and 8:30am respectively with absolutely no hitches experienced. The drama however began to unfold after the first set of athletes for the 42km race crossed the finish line.
At some point, the number of runners at the end point became too much and everyone couldn’t receive their medals immediately, so they were asked to move to the backstage for medal collection in a bid to ease up the crowd at the finish line. Little did the organisers know it would turn out to be an uncontrollable situation at the backstage.
Of course, the runners kept trooping in to the backstage in their numbers and the fight for medals started. Meanwhile, there was no designated media stand or gantry so the journalists were also backstage standing together in one place. The increasing number of athletes fighting to get medals led to bouncers intervening in the situation the Nigerian way – beating and pushing the athletes who then rammed into everyone present there, including the journalists who were trying to get hold of the winners for interviews. This happened about three different times in my presence as the bouncers seemed uncontrollable.
Anyways, the drama didn’t end there as we had even more drama on stage during the award presentation when Mary Akoh was almost denied her rightful place as the second Nigerian (female) to cross the end point. One of the bouncers actually lifted her off the stage while she was arguing with the officials and anchors on stage but she stood her ground and refused to be taken off the stage as the crowd also cheered on in support. In the end, her resilience paid off (more details on the Mary Akoh situation coming up later) as she was announced second place winner.
That said, it was fun unlimited especially for 8 year-old Oluwaseyi Damilola who ran the 10km family fun race and was rewarded handsomely in cash. Another fun part of the Marathon was the musical performance from Tiwa Savage, D’banj, Teckno, Seyi Shay, Sound Sultan etc to brighten the mood of everyone after the race. We always get that right. Don’t we?
Sola Oyeniyi was an accredited media person at the event