The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Ibijoke Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated the women that participated in the sixth edition of the Lagos Women Run for promoting the culture of healthy living and showcasing Lagos as the real centre of excellence.
She made the statement at the presentation of awards to the winners of the Lagos Women Run at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Arena, Onikan, Lagos, on Saturday.
In her keynote address, the First Lady, ably represented by the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat, said: “Let me specially acknowledge thousands of women who are virtually participating in this uniquely special edition, as well as the invited elite athletes participating in the REAL RUN from the iconic start point of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, to the finish point at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Arena, Onikan on Lagos Island.”
She said it is a fact that the novel coronavirus, which is a global pandemic, has given rise to new ways of race organisation. However, special commendation, she said, must be extended to the Lagos State Government and the organizing body of what she described as the largest fitness female event in Africa for their ingenuity in providing a rare opportunity for Nigerians, Lagosians in the diaspora, and other nationalities to be a part of the 10km VIRTUAL RACE.
“I have been reliably informed that the Lagos Women Run App created especially for this event, which is the first of its kind in Africa and Nigeria as a focal point, would be available to all registered runners both Real and Virtual.
“This would track each participant and a major plus is that runners can enjoy the social banter with friends as they run together, track progress, and enjoy songs and live commentary virtually. Lagos is the State of Excellence and we are living up to it by ensuring that all elite runners at the real run observe all COVID-19 safety protocols,” the First Lady expressed.
The wife of the Governor added that promoting a healthy lifestyle and active living is important to the Lagos State Government, especially for the present administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu.
“It is, therefore, commendable that the philosophy behind the Lagos Women Run is about embracing a culture of general well-being that the government and indeed other stakeholders are proud to be associated with, while also working to push more awareness to the suburbs of the State,” she added.
Abiye Joy, from Ondo State, emerged the Champion of the open category as she breasted the tape at 33mins 41.4secs and got a record cash prize of N1m and other prizes ahead of the first runner-up Mary Osagie, who got to the finish line in 34mins 06.6secs and was rewarded with a cash prize of N500,000. Awawu Haruna emerged second runner-up in 34mins 33.6secs went home with N300,000.
The Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku lauded the Governor’s commitments towards the race, saying he is a man of culture, lifestyle and health.
In addition, he added that this year’s edition is a shift in culture trend, saying all runners that emerge winners in both the Open and veteran categories are all Nigerians.
The veteran category was won by a Plateau State marathoner, Janet John, after crossing the finish line in 43mins, 44.9secs. Comfort Ekene ran 40mins, 05.48secs to come second; while Ladi Henry (Plateau) finished third. The veteran category winners got N300,000, N200,000 and N100, 000 respectively.
Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Oluwatoyin Gafaar, commended the organizers for the good innovation.
He added that the run is a positive way to keep the women busy, especially the youths, away from crime.
“It is getting bigger and better every year. It is a good thing and a good innovation, particularly when it comes to our women.
“It is a policy of Lagos State to ensure that our women are fit and ready always.“It is also a means of livelihood for the younger ones,” he said.
Gafaar urged youths to ensure they are involved in sports.