Group to partners with Ooni on N20m Ile-Ife heritage marathon

A group identified as Ile-Ife Heritage Marathon Organisation (IHMO), on Thursday in Osogbo, capital of Osun State, said arrangements have been concluded to collaborate with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II)  in hosting a maiden edition of Ife marathon race.
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo, the race director, Mrs Adedayo Akinbode hinted that the marathon, which is expected to gulp N20 million was aimed at showcasing  the rich culture of the Ife as the cradle of Yorubaland, saying participants were expected from Germany, Kenya, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Nigeria, Israel, Malaysia, among other countries.

Akinbode, an international marathoner, who explained that Osun State government was playing a significant role in ensuring overall success of the marathon, contended that organising the race in Ife was strategic, just as she described the development as a payback for her formative life as student of Obafemi Awolowo University between the age of 15 and 20 years.

While disclosing that the race was also targeted at changing the wrong international perception about Nigeria from vices of corruption, insecurity and social malaise to that of virtues and nobility, she posited that “Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi had provided the critical support for the marathon, including covering letters to corporate organisations and other bodies for sponsorship”.
 
According to Akinbode, “We have prepared a budget of N20m. But, how much we are going to get depends on the responses from the potential sponsors. Many local and foreign participants have started registering for the race and we have marathoners from Germany, Netherlands, Pakistan, Isreal, UK, USA, Kenyans, Philippines, Malaysia. From Nigeria, we have participants from Plateau State and some states in the North East. The registration fees is $53. 60 for foreign participants, while local marathoner will pay N16, 500. The marathon would boost tourism potentials of Nigeria and Osun as a state”.

Commenting on the security measures being put in place for the race, she disclosed that members of the security planning committee include the representative from the Osun State Commissioner for Police, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, and local security from the OAU.

 
Akinbode stated that “we are expecting 150 participants. This includes 50 foreigners or marathoners and 100 local participants .The local and foreign marathoners would visit tourist attraction centres in Osun and the race would hold on the 4th of February, 2018. The marathon starts by 6.00am and it is expected to cover 42. 95 kilometres. They will start from the Conference centre of OAU to OAUTHC back to OAU. From there to Ajebmaidele Toll Gate to OOU and back to Adeyemi Aderemi road to Ori Olokun roundabout to Ondo road junction and finally end the marathon at the palace of the Ooni of Ife for reception.
 
In his remark, Osun State Commissioner for Sports, Youths and Special Needs, Mr Biyi Odunlande said the incumbent administration was passionately committed to success of the marathon, adding that enabling atmosphere would be provided to guarantee securiity and peace during the race.
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