By Olanrewaju Akojede/Modupe Oremule
Lagos – Bukola Olopade, Project Consultant for Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, on Friday said that the Feb. date for the race was strategic to get the elite marathoners to participate in the fiesta.
Olopade made the revelation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while giving insight to the international acceptability of the long distance race.
NAN reports that the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon now in its 3rd edition has been recognised by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) as a Bronze medal event.
Olopade, however, said the recognition by the World Body of Athletics was unprecedented in the history of marathon races all over the world, adding that it was a rare recognition.
“We chose February because it is strategic to us and the reason is that we have other marathons all over the world. There is Miami, Lebanon and Dubai that come towards the end of the year.
“Top runners can only do a marathon every three month, so, if we did not pick February, April is London, May for Paris and June is for Germany; so, we picked February.
“We also considered the weather; rainy season is not too good for races, while Harmattan with its dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind is also not too good for races either, so the perfect time is between January and February.
“We chose the time that will be convenient for all, it is the consideration of all that made us to chose February date and we are getting the result,’’ he told NAN.
Olopade said that the marathon would keep improving year in year out, while the organisers would keep on improving on the lapses recorded in the previous year as a build up to the next edition.
“We will continue to improve on the marathon and we can only get better as the year comes by. I have no doubt that the marathon has become a legacy.
“Lagos State will continue to do their part and moving this forward we are sure of getting more sponsors coming on board to support the event.
“We want to create a community of sponsors for the marathon and this we are gradually achieving because some investors just joined recently and they will be part of it next year.
“We, as organisers, will continue to do our best and present the best to the people as we already have about 200,000 people registered to be part of this year’s event,’’ he said.
In 2016 and 2017, the race had over 200 elite runners but the General Manager of the race, Yusuf Alli says the figure may be double this year from the level of interest being shown.
He said that elite athletes had written from America, Mexico, Germany and so many parts of the world indicating interest to participate.
NAN reports that Access Bank Lagos City Marathon holds on Saturday, Feb. 10.