Muazu Shehu and Deborah Pam have won the men and women categories of the 1st National Anti-Corruption Half Marathon held in Abuja on Monday.
Muazu crossed the finish line with a time of 1:04.31 to beat Goyet Gideon (1:04.50) to first place, while Gyang Emmanuel finished third in 1:05.34.
In the women’s category, Pam outpaced Fadekemi Olude with 1:17.58 to the runner-up’s 1:21.07, while Elizabeth Nuhu clocked 1:21.39 to finish third.
The 1st National Anti-Corruption Half Marathon was organised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in collaboration with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, tagged the “Abuja Marathon 2018”, was in commemoration of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Day.
The participants, including members of the Armed Forces, paramilitary agencies and students converged on the Eagle Square, the start and finish point of the race, as early as 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
The 21.03km race took participants from the Three Arms Zone through Maitama, Mabushi, Utako, Wuye, the Abuja National Stadium to the Central Business District, before terminating at the Eagle Square.
Addressing participants after the race, EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, said he was impressed by the turnout and promised that the Abuja Marathon was going to be an annual event.
Magu also said the fight against corruption, which informed the race, was a fight for all Nigerians.
“I implore you to remember this day and use it as an avenue to support the fight against corruption. Fighting corruption in Nigeria is in national interest and the duty of every Nigerian,” he said.
NAN reports that ex-athletes and football players, such as Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, Samson Siasia, Chioma Ajunwa, Garba Lawal and Tijani Babangida, were on hand to pledge against corruption.
NAN also reports that the winners in the men and women categories went home with cash prizes of N1 million.
Runners-up and third-placed athletes smiled home with N500,000 and N200,000 each respectively.
Speaking to NAN after his prize was presented to him, Shehu said he hoped the win would propel him to the international stage.
“I will be participating at an invitational in China in Jan. 2019. I hope this win will give me confidence,” he said.
On her part, Pam said she would continue to train hard with the aim of becoming an international marathon athlete capable of challenging some of the best in the world.