By Anulika Menanya, Lagos

With just 8 days to go until the eighth edition of the Lagos City Marathon, organizers say preparations are underway to ensure the race is a huge success.

report says 76 Top-class foreign runners from all over the world have been invited to compete in the first Gold-Label marathon which has been confirmed to start at the Lagos National Stadium on February 4.

So far 2000 athletes have indicated interest in competing in the event.

The Director of Communication for the Race, Dapo Sotuminu

The communication director of the race, Dapo Sotuminu, said “The response has been fantastic; the international registration for elite athletes had to be stopped more than a week ago because the number was growing so much. We already have close to 2000 registered and we have invited 76 foreign runners from all over the world from Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas”.

He said he expects a very exciting edition.

Search for the platinum label

The report says that initially the 42km was a bronze tag race and grew to become one of only two gold tag races in Africa. The other is the Okpekpe Hill Run in Edo State in southern Nigeria.

The objective of the organizers according to Mr. Sotuminu is to improve the 42km race to the platinum label and also achieve a gold label status for the 10km race

He said, “We will use this race for the gold label to get the platinum label, which makes it very interesting. We are also looking at having 2 gold label races at one event. We are also planning to make the 10K a gold label.

“For the first time, we are going to see more elite runners competing in the 10K race. It is not just for Nigerian runners like we used to have in the past, this time it will have an international flavor allowing foreign runners to run the 10K as well. This is one of the criteria to make it a gold label. So let’s go for it fully “continued Mr. Sotuminu.

“We have also added several pacers for the 42 km race. We are trying to get 2 runners to finish in 2 hours and 10 minutes for the men and 2 hours and 14 minutes for the women, then it will be easy for the platinum race application.” added.

World Conference on Global Careers

Meanwhile, for the first time since the start of the race, the marathon will be attended by World Athletics Head of Road Races, Alessio Punzi.

The marketing manager of Nilayo Sports management, organizers of the race, Chidinma Eziuka, revealed that a special guest is “From World Athletics, the head of road racing, Alessio Punzi. He is coming to experience racing with us and also intends to bring the world racing conference to Nigeria in 2024. He is coming to discuss it with the authorities of the potential host, Lagos. He wants Lagos to host the next edition”.

This time for Nigeria

Meanwhile, no Nigerian has ever finished on the podium at the Lagos marathon, but Ms Eziuka is hopeful that will change this year.

She said “Surprisingly, many Nigerian runners participate in big races even outside of Nigeria, such as the London and Berlin marathons. We may not be kicking out Nigerians because they haven’t come in first, second or third, but we do have top-tier Nigerian runners taking part in our marathons.”

“Even outside the country they win medals and bring them back home, but here in this race we have the Kenyans and the Ethiopians winning our races and we are hopeful that ours will take these positions and get some prize money this year.”concluded.

To boost participation in the race, the organizers have reverted to pre-Covid prize money for first place winners in the race. 42km race that leaves with 50,000 US dollars vs. 30,000 US dollars of the latest edition.

The first Nigerian to cross the finish line will receive 1 million naira, as will the winner of the 10km race

Meanwhile, in preparation for the first Gold-Label race in Nigeria, the Lagos City Marathon Expo is open until February 4, at Teslim Balogun, Surulere, where runners are expected to collect their kits and numbers. for running.

There are also a series of exhibitions for the success of the Gold-Label race, as well as health talks and various other events geared towards the successful organization of the race.

The start line for the Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has been scheduled for the National Stadium, Surulere, for the Full Marathon and the finish in Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, while the 10The km race will start at the Lekki-Ikoyi link and end at Eko Atlantic City.