Abuja International Marathon begins 30 days countdown, unveils lead activities
• Okpekpe promises pace-setting 2023 race
Organisers of the Abuja Internation Marathon billed to hold on April 29 have unveiled the lead activities that would spice up the first road race in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
An initiative of Unicentral Resources Generation Limited and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA), the race, according to the organisers, will offer a memorable experience for elite runners, both Nigerians and foreigners, fun runners and students
Towards this end, Unicentral, led by Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo and top officials of FCTA led, by Director of Sports, Luka Istifanus, met yesterday at Ogun State House office of Unicentral to fine-tune the programme for the last 30 days.
The race, which starts at City Gate and ends at the Car Park behind the Eagles’ Square, is in three categories, the full marathon (42.195 km), the 10 kilometres family race and the five kilometres students race.
The races will be preceded by a 10-day marathon expo at The Pavilion beside International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Istifanus revealed at the meeting that arrangement has been concluded with the Department of Tourism FCTA to give visitors coming for the race a taste of FCT, adding, “we will provide transportation and we also trained tour guides that will take visitors and residents who are interested in major tourist centres in the FCT around the city.”
Race Director, Olukayode Thomas, said the first of the final last four route tours of Abuja International Marathon is slated for Sunday, March 9, 2023. The tour is for managers, sponsors, and partners, “though we have embarked on many route tours in the past, the essence of the final four tours is to give our staff, especially ad-hoc staff and even our volunteers, most of them Youth Corpers, to have a thorough understanding of the route so that they could be of immense assistance to all runners, spectators and others.”
Meanwhile, organisers of the historic and world-acclaimed Okpekpe International 10km Road Race have promised to organise another pacesetting event come Saturday, May 27, 2023.
The yearly World Athletics gold label event returned last year after a two-year COVID-19-induced break.
This year’s edition will be the ninth in the series of the competition, which started in 2013 and became the first in Nigeria to be granted a (bronze) label status in 2015.
Okpekpe Road Race Director, Zack Amodu, yesterday, said this year’s event would see a lot of improvement on capacity building for Nigerians in and around Edo State.
“With the capacity we have displayed over the years in terms of the technical organisation of the race, which, in the first instance, led to the label status we got in 2015, we decided to focus on developing more Nigerians outside those who actually do the running on the road,” said Amodu said.
“Last year, we organised a technical officiating course for technical officials in Benin for those in and around Edo State to enhance the pool of technical officiating officials we have in the country.
“We also used medical students of the Edo state university in Uzairue to serve as volunteers in the medical committee for the race. This has given them the practical experience needed to become better in their chosen fields.
“This year, we are extending this to the students of Mass Communication and related courses, who will serve as media volunteers while those in the Physical and Health Department and related courses, will also serve as volunteers in the technical department of the race.
“This is outside the economic benefits that are derivable from the organisation of the race,” he said, adding that there would be seminars for all categories of volunteers that will be used for the race.