The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, has expressed great joy at the return of full marathon race to Lagos with the berth of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
The last time Lagos had a full marathon was 1985, 30 years ago, Ogba recalled that the AFN made several attempts to sell the idea of a full marathon to past government, but that the appeals were turned down.
In this light, the AFN boss commended the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, for reviving full marathon in Lagos, with the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
He also commended the sponsor of the race, Access Bank, for keying into a project that will showcase Lagos landmarks to a global audience, boost local business, generate employment, enhance a healthy lifestyle and create fun for the family.
“We thank Governor Ambode, who not only embraced the idea, but is working round the clock to ensure its success.’’
Ogba urged Nigerians, who are mistaking the culture of marathon running with usual track and field meets, to cure their ignorance by doing more researches on marathon and its benefits to host cities.
“Marathon is not about a Nigerian winning or not, though I would be delighted if a Nigerian win in Lagos and go on to win elsewhere, but it is more than that. New York, Dubai, Berlin, Boston, Paris, Durban, Accra and several other marathons are not won by their citizens. But the one day event generate thousands of jobs in the host cities, millions of dollars are made. London Marathon is biggest one day event for raising money for charities in the world. It is in the Guinness Book of Records. I urge Nigerians to seek information before making comments’’.
Babatunde Adewale, an engineer, who has ran some road races and marathon around the world is delighted that his city will host a marathon.
“I have done marathons around the world. I was not born in 1985 when Lagos hosted marathon last. So I thank Gov. Ambode for giving me the opportunity to witness one in my city. I will run for the fun. I am hoping to finish in four hours ‘’
Also, Stella Udoh, a banker who hopes to work as a volunteer thanked the brains behind the eagerly anticipated marathon in Lagos “I have been to Dubai, New York and London. I am happy my city will join the list of marathon destinations in February 2016. I can’t wait for the day, I will be happy to work as a volunteer for nothing, Ambode has taken away Lagos reproach, we are one of the few mega cities in the world without a marathon. Can you imagine that South Africa has 23 marathons and road races and Lagos does not have. Even Accra and Cotonou have marathons,” Udoh said.