One month from Thursday April 27, the historic Okpekpe international 10km road race will hold in Okpekpe near Auchi, Edo state.
It will be the first gold label 10 km road race to be held in Nigeria and organizers have restated their commitment to organizing an event worthy of its new status.
The race’s media and activation director, Dare Esan says this year’s edition, the ninth in the series, will be the biggest so far in terms of the quality of elite athletes that will participate in it as well as its technical and administrative organisation.
‘We are organizing a gold label road race this year and, naturally, the quality of athletes that will race will have gold written all over them. As a gold label race, elite athletes that will compete must be gold level running athletes and this we have complied with,’ said Esan who believes the development will have a positive effect on the quality of performances.
‘We are not only expecting a new course record for the men and women races but also a few of the athletes running a sub-29 minutes for men and a sub-32 for women,’ he added.
Ethiopia’s Teshome Mekonen holds the men’s course record (28:35) while another Ethiopian, Wude Ayalew ran 32:41 to set the women’s course record, both set in 2014.
Esan also revealed the race this year will also serve as a qualifying race for the World Athletics Championships scheduled for Budapest, Hungary this August.
‘This means athletes coming to compete for the prize money on offer will also have the additional motivation to secure the entry standard to the 19th World Athletics Championships.’
According to Esan, the Okpekpe international 10km road race is one of the approved events that have met all the requirements to serve as a qualifying event for the biennial championships.
‘We are delighted that, through the race, we have been able to make Nigeria a destination of sort for sports globally and we have opened the door for more road races in Nigeria to get international recognition and have their races courses measured by World Athletics accredited course meazurers.
‘We intend to keep up with our pace-setting role by organizing another world class race that others can emulate as we strive to positively create a road running culture in Nigeria,’ he said.
The Okpekpe international 10 km road race is the first to be granted a label status by World Athletics in 2015 and it is also the first to have its course measured by a World Athletics accredited meazurer.