Seventeen-year-old Francis James emerged as the winner of the second edition of the Mangrove Marathon Race in Lagos State. James beat other competitors, including popular online newspaper publisher and presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore, to win the race and received a prize of one million naira. David Abiye-Joyce, a staff member of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, won the women’s category. The Mangrove Marathon is a community-based initiative that aims to save mangroves and other biodiversity hotspots in Lagos. The organizers plan to expand the race in the coming years and raise awareness for mangrove conservation.
The second edition of the Mangrove Marathon Race in Lagos state concluded with a 17-year-old emerging as the winner.
Francis James, a 17-year-old from Plateau State, was declared the winner of the 2023 edition, surpassing competitors from across the country.
Among his main rivals in the race was Omoyele Sowore, the Publisher of Sahara Reporters and presidential candidate for the African Action Congress in the 2023 General Elections.
James’ achievement earned him a prize of one million naira. The 10km eco-friendly race took place in Lekki, Lagos state.
James’ accomplishment at such a young age is considered a significant milestone.
He expressed his happiness and stated that it took him six months to train for the competition, emphasizing the importance of practice and consistency in any field of endeavor.
In the women’s category, David Abiye-Joyce, a staff of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, emerged as the winner.
The Mangrove Marathon Race, a community-based initiative, serves as a platform for stakeholders to come together and collaborate to protect the mangroves and other biodiversity hotspots in Lagos, according to the convener, Mr Jerry Chidi.
Mangrove Marathon’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jerry, shared this information with journalists before the event, stating that the race was a huge success and that the youth of Ibeju-Lekki LCDA were thrilled to be part of the conservation efforts in their community.
Mr Jerry further mentioned that future plans for the marathon include a 21km race in 2024 and a 42km race in 2025.
In his welcome address, Lekki LCDA Chairman, Hon. Rasak Kasali, commended the organizers and participants of the Mangrove Marathon Race while emphasizing the value of mangroves to the ecosystem.
Kasali explained the role of mangroves as buffers between marine and terrestrial communities and their ability to protect shorelines from damaging winds, waves, and floods.
Despite their numerous benefits, Kasali expressed concern over the destruction of mangroves due to pollutants and called on industries within the Lekki LCDA to be environmentally responsible.
The Mangrove Marathon Lagos 2023, held on July 29, aimed to commemorate the international day for the conservation of the mangrove.