Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) has confirmed Saturday May 12, 2018 as date for the sixth edition of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) bronze-label Okpekpe International 10km Road Race which will hold in Okpekpe, near Auchi in Edo State.
The Okpekpe race is the only road race in Nigeria that is listed on the 2018 calendar of AIMS, a member-based organisation of more than 400 of the worldâ€™s leading distance races from over 100 countries and territories.
â€œThe Okpekpe race is also the only member of the prestigeous organisation in Nigeria and the first to have its route measured by an IAAF/AIMS accredited measurer,â€ said spokesman for the race Dare Esan.
â€œAs we are speaking, the race is also the only road race in Nigeria and West Africa to have an IAAF label rating and one of only three in Africa last year. This means it is the only race in Nigeria today that the IAAF has designated as one of the leading road races around the world. We are hoping for an upgrade to silver this year as we met all the requirements needed for an upgrade following the benchmark organisation of the fifth edition last year in Okpekpe,â€ he further said.
Meanwhile, organisers of the Okpekpe road race have congratulated the Lagos State government and indeed organisers of the Access Bank/Lagos International Marathon for heeding their call to have the 42km route of the race measured by an IAAF/AIMS accredited measurer.
â€œWe are indeed happy that they have become the second road race in Nigeria to have its route properly measured. This is a good development for road running in Nigeria. What this means now is that athletes can now use the Lagos marathon to qualify for international marathon events like the marathon event at both the IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games,â€ said Esan, a journalist who has covered the marathon event at eight IAAF World Championships and the Olympics.
â€œNow we can begin to say Nigeria is gradually becoming a destination for road races in Africa and the entire world. We are hoping organisers of the marathon will move a step up to have its race designated as one of the leading road races in the world by not only becoming an AIMS member but also by getting an IAAF label for it.
â€œWe also want to specially congratulate his excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State for following in the footsteps of his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki who has sustained the legacy bequeathed to him by the his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
Like Obaseki, Ambode has not listened to those who believe spending money on and providing the enabling environment for an event used to showcase the state to the entire world is a waste of resources. Okekpe nay Edo State has become known worldwide for 10km road race and people are eager to know more about the place, its people and its culture. Without the race, the rustic village would have become known only to people around Auchi, We are indeed indebted to Gov Obaseki for sustaining what has become a tradition of excellence,” Esan concluded.