Promoters of Onitsha City Marathon (OCM) took a bold step, when officials from Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) measured the route for the race on June 30.
The Onitsha City Marathon has been scheduled to hold on Oct.5 in the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, South East of Nigeria.
At the Head of the 6-man team was a Scot, 67-year-old, internationally acclaimed Marathon Race Measurer, Norrie Williamson based in South Africa.
The team was made up of Nigeria’s well-known personality in Marathon/Raod Race organisation, Yussuf Ali.
He is currently, the General Manager, Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, alongside Policeman, Solomon Aliyu, a renowned Athletics coach and Head of Security for the tour.
Others are the Marathon Route Manager, Olawale Olatunji, and Obiandu Anne, the Events Manager and Lewis Omasuwa, a Tartan Track specialist.
Williamson, on arrival with his team, rode on his bicycle through the 21 kilometre course through the ever busy streets of Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, to take the measurement.
The distance covered the Onitsha North and South and parts of Idemili North.
Williamson was covered by a team from the Federal Road Safety and the Nigeria Police, who assisted in keeping the ever-busy Onitsha traffic jam at bay throughout the duration of the 2 hour-long grueling exercise.
At the end of the painstaking measurement on June 30, Nigeria’s Marathon Race specialist, Alli and current National long Jump record holder, hailed the event as `great’.
He holds the National record of 8.27 metres that he set in Lagos on Aug. 8, 1989.
Alli told Journalists that the Onitsha City Marathon had started out well by commencing with the measurement. “When you want a race of this magnitude, you need to start with the measurement of the
“The Onitsha City Marathon is lucky to have procured the services of the best in the event – Williamson, a man credited with measuring marathons routes of four previous Olympic Games – 1984 Los Angelis Games, 1996 Atlanta, 2004 Athens and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
According to Alli, the Onitsha Marathon is fantastic course because it has a flat course and sure to attract many entries.
“I am certain that it will attract many entries from elite athletes all over the World because of the flat nature of the course.’’
Alli, a former captain of the National contingent to many Africa, Commonwealth and Olympic Games said that he was amazed to witness a growing culture of road racing in Onitsha.
“I observed many enthusiastic people made up of the young and the old jogging for life in the city. This is a good sign that the people trooping out ijn their numbers to jog.
“This will impact well on the marathon because the popularity for road race already, thriving in city,’’ he said.
On whether the race will hold this year, he said that Oct. 5 date set by the promoters had been officially adopted by AIMS. “We are already working toward it. I am coming for a number of other issues to firm up arrangements.
“We still have to count all the lampposts on the routes take others details ahead of the race,’’ Ali said.
The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, also known as AIMS, is an association of the organisers of long-distance road running races.