With barely thirty days to the first international marathon will take place in Federal Capital Territory (FCT)., the organisers have revealed some of the lead-up activities to the historic race.
An initiative of Unicentral Resources Generation Limited and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCTA), the Abuja International Marathon is billed for 29 April
To make it a memorable experience for elite runners, both Nigerians and foreigners, fun runners, and students, the management of Unicentral, the licensee of the Abuja International Marathon, led by Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo, and top officials of FCTA, led by Director of Sports Luka Istifanus, met at Ogun State House office of Unicentral to fine-tune the program for the last 30 days.
The race, which starts at City Gate and ends at the car park behind Eagles’ Square, is divided into three categories: the full marathon (42.195 km), the 10 km family race, and the 5 km race for students.
The races will be preceded by a 10-day Marathon Expo at The Pavilion beside International Conference Center.
Mr Istifanus revealed at the meeting that they have concluded an arrangement with the Department of Tourism FCTA to give visitors coming to the race a taste of the FCT.
He said: “We will provide transportation, and we have also trained tour guides that will take visitors and residents who are interested in major tourist centres in the FCT around the city”.
Race Director Olukayode Thomas said the first of the final last four route tours of the Abuja International Marathon is slated for Sunday, 9 April. The tour is for managers, sponsors, and partners.
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“Though we have embarked on many route tours in the past, the essence of the final four tours is to give our staff, especially ad hoc staff and even our volunteers, most of them Youth Corps members, a thorough understanding of the route so that they could be of immense assistance to all runners, spectators, and others,” he said.
Mr Thomas revealed that there would be a total closure of the entire route on race day for about 14 hours, “From 12 midnight on Saturday, April 29, 2023, till 2 pm, there will be a total shutdown of the entire route, but the FCT Department of Transportation will tell residents and visitors alternative routes three weeks before the race”.
Mr Istifanus appealed to residents of the FCT to visit the Expo and also come out and cheer runners on race day, saying, “The biggest beneficiary of the race are residents of the FCT; apart from the health benefits that come with running, the Abuja International Marathon will boost our economy, boost tourism, and engage and empower our youth positively.”.
Mr Thomas said, “major artistes from different parts of the country will perform at the finish points. We appeal to residents and visitors to join us at the finish point where they will be refreshed by 7 Up Bottling Company. ”
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