It all started as a means to lose weight, stay in shape and feel better, little did she know what was coming her way. Esther found her way winning small races and medalling in Banker’s games and Glo half marathon where she recognized her potential. Though a late start, Esther in her thirties has decided to the Berlin Marathon to represent Nigeria.
She took her first major running career when she opted for the Athens Marathon, the ancient city of the world’s first marathon(dating back to 2500 years) with 42.2kms. She ran and broke the 4hour barrier, coming in at 3:49 and finished as top Nigerian (male and female) and says the experience was WOW! Three months later, she travelled to Dubai, another major marathon and shaved 15 minutes off her time, coming in at 3:36, finishing in top 50 females and qualifying an elite start for Boston Marathon, AND AGAIN was amongst the top (only Nigerian) male and female. And it was at this point the media eyes turned on her and nicknamed her “The running banker” and her story travelled across Africa, Europe and the United States.
Esther addressing the press
It is very rare and unique to have a top-tier marathoner who also juggles a professional life as a banker. When asked how she manages her time, Esther says she balances her banking career by making out time for what’s important and none gets in the way. And her long time coach-Jim Lafferty is always there to keep her on check. It’s a lot of work but with a coach, physio-therapist, Masseus Everything health and work stays in place.
Data shows that female marathoners typically peak in their mid 30s, Esther is over 30 and says now is the time to see how far she can go. So she has decided to take on one of the 5 “Marathon Majors”. The Marathon Majors are the 5 largest and most prestigious world marathons as noted by the IAAF. They are London, New York, Boston, Chicago and Berlin. Berlin has garnered the most press coverage for due to its size of 45, 000 runners, and that the last 3 world’s records were set on its very fast course. So if Esther runs a sub 3:30, this would place her most likely in the Top 100 women in her category, and again lead Nigerians, of both sexes.
Esther Obiekwe and sponsors
Park&Shop sponsored Esther’s trip to Berlin and are proud supporters of other athletes in Nigeria. With the endorsement of Athletics Federation of Nigeria(AFN) AND THE SUPPORT OF THE MEDIA, Esther prays to make her country proud and says “Nobody achieves anything of meaning alone. Behind anyone who has achieved stands a team of greats who support them. It is the arrogant and short-sighted man who believes they have done it alone.”
Sharon Ojong and Esther(Esther loves FAB)
An overview of the press
Esther answering questions
Details and more pictures of everything about Esther can be found on her blog www.thejoyrunner.com