3,000 runners for 5th Okpekpe race — Alli assures saying organisers are set
No fewer than 3,000 runners have been confirmed to run at the 5th Okpekpe International 10km Road Race which holds on May 13 at Okekpe near Auchi in Edo State.
A top technical official of the race, Yusuf Ali announced on Thursday in Okpekpe that the number was made up of 23 foreign elite athletes and 32 from the Nigerian elite class.
“The elite athletes — foreign and local have all arrived in Auchi. They will go on a route tour today to familiarise themselves with the race course in line with International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) rules,’’ said Alli, a former Nigeria long jump champions and former Commonwealth record holder.
“I am delighted at the huge number of locals, especially from North Ibie side that includes Okpekpe town. It shows they have fully embraced the race.
“They will not only be running to be fit or just for the fun of it, they also have the opportunity to win money at the event. There is prize money for the North Ibie athletes courtesy John Momoh, chairman and chief executive officer of Channels Television,’’ noted Ali who restated the organisers preparedness for the event.
“Everything is set. The athletes are here. We have done the lining of the route, particularly the kilometre markings. There will be water, sponges and refreshment stations on the route and at the finish point.
“If I must add, the drinking/sponging and refreshment stations are adequately staffed by competent personnel and everything has been done in accordance with IAAF Rule 240.8,’’ he said.
Ali also said that doping procedures would follow immediately after the race.
“We have a doping station built since last year and it will be manned by competent anti-doping officers led by Akin Amao, a doctor and former medical officer with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The IAAF has listed the race as an international competition which means the doping will be done as if it is the IAAF World Championship that is taking place.
The race is one of only two listed by the IAAF on their website as an international competition.
He also said the race will be timed using full automatic electronic timing system and that there will be split timing at every kilometre.
“A clock Car will precede the race leaders indicating the time elapse since the start of the race. The timing for the race will be done by MYLAPS Sports Timing, the internationally recognised automatic sports timing company.
“Last year we raised the bar in terms of organising road races in Nigeria by joining such world acclaimed marathons as Boston, Rotterdam and Melbourne marathons who now rely on MYLAPS technology for the world class timing of their events.
“We also have the tracking application to enable the media, athletes, their friends and family as well as spectators and sponsors to follow the progress of the participants.
Ali also said the athletes from eight nations will be participating at the event.
The Okpekpe international 10km road race is powered by Pamodzi Sports Marketing, leaders in sports marketing and hospitality business in Nigeria.
It is the first and only road race in Nigeria that has been granted full membership of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and recognised as one of the prestigious road races in the world and the only race with an IAAF label status in West Africa.
Last year Kenyan duo of Simon Cheprot and Polline Wanjiku Njeru were placed first in the male and female categories respectively. They went home with $15,000 prize money each after finishing in a record time of 29min: 48sec and 33min: 53sec respectively. ##