Iliya Pam was the first Nigerian athlete to cross the line at the 2017 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

The top Nigerian finishers at the 2017 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Iliya Pam and Fadekemi Olude, have both promised to do all within their reach to retain their No.1 positions in Saturday’s 2018 race.

While Pam has been training hard for the 2018 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon in Jos, Olude is in the national camp in Port Harcourt where she is simultaneously preparing for the Commonwealth Games and the Lagos Marathon.

Pam who finished ahead of all his compatriots with a time of 2hrs:23mins but ended in 17th position overall said he would raise the bar at the forthcoming event.

“I have been training hard for a long time and I am very happy with my shape. My goal for this year’s marathon is not just to finish as the No.1 Nigerian but to at least make it into the Top 10 overall.” Pam declared.

“I know it will be tougher this year but I am ready for the challenge as I look forward to running a good time to qualify for the Commonwealth Games,” Pam added.

Fadekemi Olude was Nigeria’s first female athlete at the 2017 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

On her part, Olude who shocked many to emerge as Nigeria’s first female runner with a time of 2hrs:16mins, said she was raring to go for the race.

According to her, the increased prize monies is extra motivation for her to not only repeat what she did last year, but even do much more.

“The N1m I won last year was quite helpful; now that it is N3m, I am have been training even harder”, she said.

According to Olude, this edition of the competition would be tougher compared to last year’s race as many people who did not reckon with her are now aware of her capabilities.

“Of course, I expect the likes of Olamide Oluwaseun and Deborah Pam to give me a tough fight, but I know it will bring out the best in me,” she said.

As already announced, Saturday’s full marathon will start at 6.30am at the National Stadium and end at Eko Atlantic City.

The 10Km road race will be starting at 8.30am at the Lekki end of Ikoyi-Lekki Bridge, and also end at Eko Atlantic City.

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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