A total of 100, 000 athletes from 27 countries including Nigeria will be participating in the second edition of Access Bank Lagos Marathon billed to hold from 7am to 2pm on February 11, 2017.
According to a statement on Friday afternoon by the Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Mr. Habib Aruna, 64 elite athletes from 26 countries and 102 from Nigeria, as well as 30 special athletes will also be participating in the marathon.
It is scheduled to start from the National Stadium in Surulere and terminate at the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island.
Addressing a world press conference on Friday at the Eko Hotels and Suites, the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who was respresented by his Special Adviser on Sports and Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Deji Tinubu, said that adequate preparations had been put in place to ensure a successful event, assuring that the marathon had been designed to be bigger and better than the previous edition.
Tinubu addressed the briefing alongside the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mr Solomon Ogba; the Acting President of the International Association of Ultra runners, Mr Nadeem Khan; representatives of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and representatives of the sponsors of the event.
Reading the Governor’s speech, Tinubu said that all agencies of government participating in the event had been adequately mobilized, saying that Lagosians should expect the best.
Speaking on the idea behind investing in the marathon, Ambode said that the event was meant to showcase the excellence of Lagos to the world as well as encourage sporting activities among the people.
He said: “We want to show the world that Lagos can be and Lagos can do what it is expected of it as a mega city; we want to show to the world the tourism potential of Lagos; we want to show to the world that Lagos is safe; we want to show to the world that Lagos can be the choice destination for sports, tourism and entertainment and that is why we are doing this.”
While appreciating all the sponsors that partnered with the State Government, Ambode said it was gratifying to note that many of the participating athletes had picked up their running kits, while top notch security and logistics arrangement had been put in place.
He also said that the Sole Administrators of the Local Government Areas of the routes of the marathon had also been adequately mobilized, while arrangement for entertainment and fun packs had also been perfected for those not participating in the marathon.
In his remarks, AFN President, Ogba said as the biggest commercial city and very important city in Africa, the Lagos Marathon was designed to be among the top ten marathons in the world, saying that he was indeed happy with the commitment of the present administration in the State led by Ambode towards the marathon.
He said it was common knowledge that over 10,000 people travel to Lagos per day with no intention of going back and with a lot of attendant pressure on public infrastructure, adding that it was good thing that the government considered the event.
Also, Head of Organizing Committee of the Marathon and Executive Director of Access Bank, Mr. Victor Otoko recalled the success of the last year edition, saying that necessary preparation has been perfected to make this year’s edition hugely successful.
He said provisions had been made for a total of 29 water stations along the marathon routes with adequate security to ensure that only the marathoners get access it, while all the special athletes participating in the marathon would be given appearance fees.
Explaining how the Marathon came into being, Project Consultant, Mr Bukola Olopade said Governor Ambode deserved to be commended for his sportsmanship that made it easy for the maiden event to be possible, having given approval after presentation on the event.
“Let me specially thank Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for understanding the context of hosting the event just within two minutes of discussing why Lagos, considered to be the hub of business activities in Nigeria and 5th largest economy in Africa, should host the marathon,” Olopade said.