The 2018 Millennium Marathon last Saturday produced a new winner as 19-year-old Ishmael Arthur from Agona Manko Nkwanta in the Central Region was crowned winner of the male 21km race at the Independence Square in Accra.
Arthur, a graduate of the Swedru Business School, finished first in a time of 1:08:09 ahead of John Kudanu and last year winner and pre-marathon favourite, Malik Yakubu who finished within 1:08:53 hours and 1:08:58 hours.
In the female 21km race, Elizabeth Azure also curt a slice of history after retaining the title after crossing the finish line in a time of 1:19:31 hours.
Elizabeth, a 21-year-old Level 200 student of the University of Development Studies completed the highly competitive race first ahead of Ramatu Abdullah, 14, and Judith Bayele, 16, who finished within 1:27:06 hours and 1:31:52 hours in that order.
Women's 21 km winner, Elizabeth Azure (left), with first and second runners-up Ramatu Abdullah and Judith Bayele
Arthur, who trains at the Daakye Gym at Swedru, told the Graphic Sports that he put in a lot of work and deserved the victory.
“It’s unbelievable because this is my first time participating in the Millennium Marathon. I trained a lot. I never stopped training, especially these last few weeks because my target was actually to win and I thank God for making this dream a reality.”
Elizabeth, who was second in her debut competition in 2016, said she had her eye on the top prize because it would afford her to compete outside Ghana.
“I trained hard for this particular event because I heard that the winner would represent Ghana at one of the international marathons,” said the women’s champion.
Ishmael Arthur (middle) flanked by first runner-up, John Kudanu (left) and second runner-up Malik Yakubu
For their prizes, Arthur and Elizabeth each took home $2,500 in cash and medals. In addition, they will also get opportunity to participate in the 2019 Dubai Marathon to be held in January.
The second and third placed athletes each received $1,500 and $1,000 in cash, medals and souvenirs from sponsors.
In other categories, renowned para-athlete Raphael Botsor won the male wheelchair male event ahead of Yakubu Abubakari and Maclean Atsu who finished second and third respectively.
In the female five-kilometre race, youngster Ammakyie Kening finished in first position in a time of 14:45:35 minutes to take home $500 as the winner’s prize, followed in that order by Vivian Fosuah (15:04:55) and Regina Aontett (15:10:07).
Renowned para-athlete Raphael Botsor (middle) won the male wheelchair event
Togolese Kakonissa Midouni won the male five-kilometre race ahead of Desmond Sarpong and Foli Quaye Ametepe to take home $500, $300 and $200 in prizes respectively.
This year’s event, themed “Run the Healthy Change in You” attracted thousands of participants both locally and internationally.
On the sidelines of the race, 42-year-old Amdiatu Seidu, a civilian employee at the Ministries Police Station in Accra, won a 2018 Nissan Kicks vehicle in a raffle draw conducted by the National Lotteries Authority.
Thousands of athletes participated in this year's event
Arthur and Elizabeth were not the biggest winners of the day. There was also love in the air as the first ever Millennium Marathon wedding was conducted between two marathoners, Samuel Attuah and Doreen Asantewaa Nyarko, who participated in the five-kilometre race and were later joined in holy matrimony at the Independence Square.
The couple ran the race in their wedding outfit after which their union was blessed by Rev Isaac Aurthur amidst loud cheers from their families, friends and the large crowd.
Samuel Attuah and Doreen Asantewaa Nyarko ran the 5 km race before walking down the aisle to bless their marriage