Top Kenya marathoner Alice Timbilil says it will take Nigerians time to catch up with Kenyans in long distance racing.
A statement released on Thursday in Lagos by organisers of Access Bank Lagos Marathon, quotes the Kenyan as praising the courage of two Nigerian marathoners, Oluwaseun Olumide and Ronke Olumudi that vowed to win the top prize of 50,000 dollars
The event will hold on Feb. 11, in Lagos.
According to her, their chance of achieving their dream is very slim.
Timbilil who was second at the 2016 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon in a time of 2:38.49 seconds she said: “the feat of British runners like Paula Radcliff, the Japanese, Chinese have shown that one does not need to be born in high altitude areas to excel in marathons.
“It will not happen overnight. It takes many years of consistent hard work and competitions for Nigerians and indeed West Africans to catch up with us.’’
Timbilil welcomed the idea of Nigerians embracing marathons and road races since Kenyans too were also moving into the 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.’’
She suggested that for Nigerians to join the global elite athletes, they needed 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 programme that will start at the schools.’’
Timbili who has a personal best of 2:25.03 secs placed second at the last edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
She made her marathon debut in 2008 and her first major race of 2010 came at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon where 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. ##