Seventy six first class foreign runners from across the world have been invited to compete in the first ever Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon which has been confirmed to start at the National Stadium, Lagos on February 4.
The General Manager of the race, Yussuf Alli, said at the weekend that: “The Elite entries would have been more, if the organizers had not regulated it to a barest size over a week ago. Towards effective and efficient management of the race. The large size was expected at it’s one of the effects of a Gold-Label race. And Nilayo Sports Management is ready for it.”
Yussuf, revealed that, majority of the invited foreign runners are from Europe, East Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Asia and South America.
“And out of the pool of registered foreign runers, the organisers have officially invited 47 male and 29 female world class foreign runners that will lead the bunch of runners in the race.
He stressed that, while 76 of the foreign runners had been officially invited by the organisers, the rest will compete to chase the Gold-Label status as they continue in their quest to garner requisite internatiinal points to attain firstclass Elite status as they grow professionally.”
He noted that; “The Lagos City Marathon’s quest to attain the Platinum Label race status, which is uppermost in the desires of the organisers, Nilayo Sports Management Ltd, will be boosted when two of the male runners finish the full marathon race in less than 2 hours 10minutes and three female athletes finish under 2 hours 12 minutes.”
Yussuf, a former African record holder in the Long Jump, noted that, for the 8th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Gold-Label race, the runners would have their running numbers in front and their names at the back of their competition jerseys.
“And to avoid any form of controversy, as clearly stipulated by World Athletics, there will be the photo finish device at the finish line of the race at the Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the firstever Gold-Label race in Nigeria, the Expo for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon started yesterday at Volleyball courts of the Teslim Balogun, Surulere.
The Expo would see: registered runners pick up their running kits and numbers. The organisers will also have series of exhibitions towards the success of the Gold-Label race. Health talks and several other events geared towards the sucessful organisation of the race.
The Expo will continue until February 2, two days to the race on February 4. The start line for the Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has been slated for the National Stadium, Surulere, for the full Marathon.
There will also be the 10km race, which for the first time in Nigeria would witness Gold-Label runners compete for honours in that category.
The organisers will be using the race to apply for a Gold-Label race status for 10km.
The Managing Director of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, Chief Bukola Olopade, disclosed Monday that, because of the darkness occasioned at the start point of the race at the 7th edition at the National Stadium, Lagos, last year, which is the same venue for this year’s edition, the start time has been moved forward by 30 minutes. Which means, the race would be flagged off at 6.30am. By this time, the day would have brightened up a little enough to allow some visibility for the start line formalities.
Olopade added that, from the 9th edition of the Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, next year, the organisers will introduce payment entry charges, as runners will pay registration fees to compete in the Lagos City Marathon. The amount to be paid will be decided by the organisers at the conclusion of this year’s edition on 4th February.