In Pictures: Pain and ecstasy at the Lagos marathon

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In Pictures: Pain and ecstasy at the Lagos marathon

Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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Major sections of the notoriously clogged streets of Nigeria's commercial hub, Lagos, were closed to traffic to make way for the estimated 10,000 runners on Saturday taking part in the marathon and 10km (6.2 miles) races.

A rain shower just before the 06:30 local time (05:30 GMT) start cooled things down but with the temperature at 26C and humidity increasing the conditions proved punishing for the athletes.

People reaching the finish line Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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The marathon route, for this fourth edition of the race, included a gruelling shade-less 11km stretch across the Third Mainland Bridge that links mainland Lagos to a series of islands.

It ended more than 20km later at Eko Atlantic – a stretch of land reclaimed from the sea.

Man holding his arms up Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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The elite race attracted athletes from East Africa, with Ethiopians and Kenyans taking the top spots in the men's and women's races.

Ethiopian Sintayehu Legese won the men's marathon in two hours 17 minutes and 27 seconds. His compatriot Meseret Dinkie won the women's race in 2:48:10.

Cheerleaders Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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Live music performances and cheerleaders tried to boost the morale as the athletes approached the end of the run.

Woman finishing the race Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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While some still seemed to be bouncing along comfortably as they got to the finish line, others were clearly struggling.

Man struggling to the finish line Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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Many were relieved to have got to the end.

Man pouring water over his head Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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The recovery tent was not only for the less well-conditioned runners, some of the elite athletes also need help.

Woman massaging a man's leg Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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The top-placed athletes all received large cash prizes. The winners of the men's and women's races each got $50,000 (£38,000) and the first Nigerians to cross the line also got money and a plot of land.

Medal being handed out Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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But everyone who took part received a commemorative medal.

Man receiving medal Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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Woman kissing the medal Image copyright Grace Ekpu/BBC
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Pictures by Grace Ekpu and words by Damian Zane, BBC

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