Banker cum marathoner, Esther Obiekwe, will be the only Nigerian at the Boston Marathon scheduled for April 16 in the US.
The Boston event is world’s oldest marathon and one of only three marathons in the world which require a qualifying time – the Olympics and the World Championships are the other two.
The Boston Athletic Association reviewed its records on Friday and confirmed that Obiekwe is the only Nigerian participant this year. She has been the only Nigerian representative since 2000.
She said, “I am deeply honoured to represent Nigeria after an extended absence of our country from the Boston Marathon; I’m excited.”
Obiekwe’s coach James Lafferty, who is also the former CEO of Nigerian Bottling Company, said, “It is not reflective of the amazing breadth of talent in Nigeria that Esther is the sole participant from Nigeria. I believe it is more a matter of continuing to develop distance running in the country and to find more sponsors to defray the significant costs to send each athlete to Boston.”
Obiekwe qualified with an elite time of 3 hours 28 minutes in the Berlin Marathon in September 2011. This qualified her well below the women’s standard of 3:40.
“My target is to run a personal record of under 3:25,” she said.