South African, Nigerian and Zimbabwean teams have qualified for the 2020 World Ultra Runners Championship at the Valuejet Remo 50 kilometres Ultra Race held in Sagamu and Ikenne.
Dapo Sotiminu, Media Coordinator, 2019 Remo Valuejet Ulra Race, made this known on Sunday.
According to Sotiminu, Zimbabwe, who competed in the ultra race first time in the country’s history, finished as the overall third place.
In the women’s team event, South Africans were top with the combined running time, ahead of Nigeria which finished in second place.
The third position in the women’s category was not decided as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Niger, Cameroon, Mauritius and Ghana did not record points enough to be placed third as majority of their athletes didn’t complete the course.
With these efforts, South African, Nigerian and Zimbabwean teams had qualified for the 2020 World Ultra Runners Championship.
In the Men’s Individual Race, South Africa’s Thobile Mbolekwa returned at a time of three hours 02 seconds to win the men’s race
Mbolekwa became the champion and also set a championship record in Africa.
Zimbabwe’s Prosper Mutwra finished in second place at a time of 3:05:25 seconds.
Mutwra said he would stay back in Nigeria to stage a challenge against the Kenyans and Ethiopians at the Lagos City Marathon coming up in the next few months.
Nigeria’s marathon champion, Ilya Pam, from Plateau, finished in the third position at a time of 3:12:39 seconds.
He also emerged the first Nigerian to cross the finish line, thus winning the special cash prize of N1 million donated by the Chairman of Valuejet Airlines, Kunle Soname.
In the women’s individual race, South Africa’s Saneliswe Mbangwa, emerged the champion when breasted the tape at 3:04:45 to win the women’s race.
Also, in the second place was Nigeria’s Elizabeth Nuhu Power after running a time of 3:47:39.
Nuhu Power had in November also emerged second place at the Lagos Women Run.
With her performance, Elizabeth Nuhu Power, won the Nigerian prize of N1million donated by Kunle Soname.
South African Leilani Scheffer won the third position at a time of 3:48:01.
The team winners and individual winners respectively got 2,000 dollars, 1,500 dollars and 1,000 dollars for their efforts.
Interestingly, this is the first time monetary prizes would be given in the 35 years history of Ultra Running in the world.
South African athlete, Thobile Mbolekwa, described the Remo 2019 as the most challenging in the ultra race event he has attended.
He lauded the organisation of the race and the crowd’s support along the routes of the race, which was flagged off at the Sagamu International Stadium.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Nigeria who was the Special Guest of Honour, applauded the courageous spirit and the zeal in the athletes to run the 50 kilometres race.
Abiodun said that Ogun government would be ever ready to support an event like the Valuejet ultra race which gives youths chance to develop themselves.
He promised that the race would be an annual event, saying that efforts would be taken to ensure that the next edition was glamorous.