Run 150 : Nigeria – Lagos

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Date : 20th September, 2018

Time : 1h 02”

Number of runners (total to date) : 3  (2401)

Total distance run to date : 1500 km

Run map and details :

“You must not do any press in Nigeria about your run. It will not go well with Immigration if you do.”

Or so I was told at the Nigerian High Commission in London. And then I had to sign a piece of paper promising there wouldn’t be any press.

At the time, especially as it came after I’d been made to wait for more than 2 hours, it all seemed quite hostile and perplexing.

But when I got to Lagos, I was told it was probably done for my own security – and to avoid any embarrassing headlines about attacks on foreign runners. Which, as so often happens when you hear the other person’s perspective, made the whole thing seem a lot more reasonable.

Having said that, it didn’t stop the Nigerian visa application process being the most expensive and difficult I’ve experienced to date. (Nigeria, please, you could so easily do better.)

But perhaps it was just as well there wasn’t any advance publicity because the weather was apocalyptic. As Ela, Nick

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and I waited to see if anyone else was coming – sensibly they weren’t – thunder and lightning crashed all around.

I suppose it might have been prudent to call off the run but Nick and Ela had a ‘no wahala’ attitude – and I didn’t have much choice in the matter – so we set off shortly before 7 am. And were drenched to the skin within seconds of setting out.

The route took us over the Ikoyi Link Bridge – famously the only hill in Lagos with a climb of 8 metres – and into town. I’d include some pics but I didn’t dare take my phone out in the torrential rain. So here’s one of the bridge from Wikipedia.

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As we arrived back at our start point, the Ascon service station, I realised we were very close to the 1 hour limit I like to set myself on these runs. We therefore accelerated for the last 500 metres, desperately trying not to fall over as we flailed round the station.

Nick, who’s the kind of ultra-runner who’s done the Marathon des Sables, described it as the craziest finish to a run he’d encountered.

Eventually we finished in 2 seconds over the hour. Hey ho, at least no-one injured themselves.

After trying to dry off in the Road Chef toilet, Ela took me to the Priory Preparatory school for a Run the World talk to c 150 students. A nicer bunch of kids it’s hard to imagine and I’d love to show you a photo of them. But a fear of kidnapping means that the school has a policy of no pictures on social media. So here’s a picture of me, Ela and Principal Alice Dina instead.

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It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to Ela for organising the run and all my Lagos logistics, to the staff and students at the Priory Prep for the warm welcome, and to Nick for the company and donation. I hope to see you all in London on July 4th 2020 for the UK leg of Run the World!

If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

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Facts & Stats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country in West Africa, bordering Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federal republic comprises 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capitalAbuja is located. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.

Nigeria has been home to a number of kingdoms and tribal states over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures whilst practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.

Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy. With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18. The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by 250 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the HausaIgbo and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 250 different languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. The official language is English. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north. A minority of the population practise religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.

As of 2015, Nigeria is the world’s 20th largest economy, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy in 2014.The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also been identified as an emerging global power. However, it currently has a “low” Human Development Index, ranking 152nd in the world. Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe’s next “BRIC-like” economies. It is also listed among the “Next Eleven” economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC.

World Bank Data

Here’s the latest World Bank data for Nigeria – with the year 2000 as a comparison.

GDP $407.7bn 2016 $46.4bn 2000
Population 186m 2016 122.4m 2000
Primary school enrolment* 94% 2013 99% 2000
CO2 Emissions** 0.55 2014 0.62 2000
% below poverty line*** 46% 2009 48% 2003
Life expectancy at birth 73.4 yrs 2016 46.3 yrs 2000
GNI per capita $2450 2016 $270 2000

*Percentage can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over and under aged students

** Metric tons per capita

***The World Bank notes that the methodology can vary between countries and over time within a given country. (While much of the World Bank data generally follows understandable trends, this number often oscillates wildly suggesting that different methodologies are frequently used over time within a given country.)

Greatest Sporting Nation Data

Finally, here’s the data from Greatest Sporting Nation on how Nigeria performed in the global sporting arena in 2017:

Global Cup – 90th

Per Capita Cup – NA

The Global Cup aggregates results from over 1000 events across 80 sports to produce the definitive annual ranking of international sporting success. The Per Capita Cup uses the same data to produce an annual per capita ranking.


About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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1 Response to Run 150 : Nigeria – Lagos

  1. Marit says:

    Well, you can only get wet once so good on the three of you for braving the elements. Thanks again for extended history and geography lesson. It’s harder running in the rain so no need to be ashamed your time. All that matters is that it is another sun tucked under your belt.

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