Kaduna Marathon: 27 international athletes to participate on Saturday

At least 27 international athletes will be participating in the 2020 Kaduna Marathon race on Saturday.

The Governor, who was represented at a pre Marathon press briefing on Friday by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, welcomed the 27 elite athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Eritrea to Kaduna state.

He assured them that by participating in the maiden edition of the 21km race on Saturday, they are writing their names in history books.

“When you start the race tomorrow, you will be creating history as participants of the maiden event. Your decision to run in this race has made it successful and an inspiration to all of us. The marathon provides another platform to bring people to Kaduna and bring Kaduna people together. We look forward to having you all here next year for the second edition.”

Chairman of the Steering Committee, Jimi Lawal said that the marathon race is self-sustaining, noting that the N300 million budgeted for the event was sourced from the sponsors without placing any burden on the state purse. He said the race was on raincheck as efforts were made to observe Covid-19 protocol and not spike the cases of Covid-19 in the state, but the 2020 London Marathon showed that it can be done.

“We hope the race would help us unite our city, our state, the race is crossing from Kaduna North to Kaduna South. Let’s be united, let’s have a peaceful and harmonious coexistence, that is what the race is all about. The elite athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are the ones giving the race international stamp.”

Kaduna State Commissioner for Sports Development, Prof. Kabiru Mato said that the global athletics governing body, World Athletics has endorsed November 21 as the date for the Kaduna Marathon annually. He said 27 elite athletes from eight countries are on the ground ready to contest for honours and prizes.

The Technical Director of the race, Yusuf Ali said there would be 5km, 10km road races and the 21km half marathon. He expressed hope that in five to 10 years a new set of runners would have sprung up in Kaduna inspired by the race. Yusuf said there are 16 transponder mats at the starting and finishing points as well as chips on the bibs transmitting to the control room once a runner step on the mat, to check to cheat.

Some of the elite runners were unveiled at the press briefing. They include Phillip Taurus (Kenya), Immaculate Chemutai (Uganda), Karen Chepton (Kenya), Lilian Chemvenor (Kenya), John Muriri Mburu (Kenya), Ezekiel Chepkor (Uganda), Rotich (Kenya), Naomi and Josephat.

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