Hayla Worku and David Barmassia battle it out at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon as John Komen looks to break the master’s record
Kenya and Ethiopia will once again renew their long-standing rivalries over the marathon as the battle for who comes out top at this weekend’s Access Bank Lagos marathon will most likely go down to the wire as the duo of Hayla Worku of Ethiopia and Kenya’s David Barmassia will ruffle feathers.
Worku is the most experienced. Do the two runners as he boasts a profile that includes running in big city marathons like Berlin, Beijing, Houston, and Istanbul. Since the Ethiopian first full race over the 42.2 km in Paris in 2009, the 32-year-old has run six of those races in under two hours and nine minutes.
His biggest result came in Berlin in 2010 when he placed third in 2:05:25, seventeen seconds behind eventual race winner Makau Patrick. Also, Worku ran a blistering 2:06:16 on his debut marathon in Paris in 2009. His last race came four months back in Poland when he ran 2:11:27 to win the Poznan Marathon.
One runner who will give Worku a run for his money is Barmassia. The Kenyan will be making in third appearance in Lagos this Saturday and will not only be looking to get back to the top of the podium after placing second behind Ethiopia’s Deresa Geleta, but he will also be hoping to break the course record he set in 2020 when he ran 2:10:23.
Another runner that will be looking to upset the applecart on Saturday is veteran runner John Komen. The 45-year-old master’s runner last competed in 2021 at the Marathon de La Rochelle in France in November. However, his biggest exploit to date came in 2019 when he managed to finish first in the 37th Authentic Athens Marathon.
During his peak years, Komen had recorded better times in past races; 2:07:13 in 2011 when he won the La Rochelle Marathon, 2:08:06 in 2008 at Reims Marathon, 2:08:12 at Paris Marathon and 2:08:13 when he won the Venezia Marathon in 2009. He will set his sights on breaking running great Kenenisa Bekele’s masters’ world record of 2:05:53s.
Other runners in the men’s category include; Julius Tuwei, Japhet Kosgei, Edwin Kibet Koech, Kiprotich Justus Kipkoech, Ezekiel Koech, and Cosmas Kiplimo.
In the women’s race, there are a host of runners who will be taking a punt at Sharon Cherop’s course record of 2:31:40, a time she set in 2020. One of those runners is Esther Macharia, a former winner of the Graz Marathon and winner of the Bregenz Marathon. She has a personal best of 2:27:15 recorded in 2022 at the Grandma’s Marathon in the USA.
She will square up against Kenya’s Mercy Jerop who has had a blistering run of races in the last two years. Jerop ran a breathtaking 2:27:32 to place third at the Florence Marathon. Also in 2022, at the Sparkasse 3-Lander Marathon, she finished second place at 2:30:15 and 3rd place also at the 2022 Adidas Stockholm Marathon at 2:33:43.
The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be hosting its first race as a Gold label race in its eighth edition.