The Director of Sports, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lucas Istifanus, on Thursday said the FCT was ready to host the best marathon in Nigeria.
Istifanus said this, in a statement in Lagos, on the readiness of the capital city, Abuja, to host the marathon.
He said the Abuja International Marathon would be used to showcase Abuja as a tourist destination.
“FCT in the last three years had received proposals from many marathon planners, but after going through all the applications, we decided to approve the Unicentral Resources proposal.
“The FCT Minister has approved the marathon and Unicentral resources application. With the minister’s approval, we are set to host the best marathon in the country.
“We want to use the marathon to showcase Abuja and Nigeria as a global tourist destination,” Istifanus said.
The Director said the FCT also wanted to use the marathon to kick start hosting of sports events in Abuja.
“In the past Abuja was not known to host many sporting events, but we want to use the marathon to kick start our readiness to host international sports events.
“Since the approval of the marathon by the FCT minister, we have been preparing to host one of the best marathons in the county,” he said.
The Managing Director of Unicentral Resources, Susanna Ogunmiloyo, commended 7 Up Bottling Company for identifying with Abuja marathon.
“I want to thank 7Up bottling company for always identifying with sports development in Nigeria. The company was the first to key into the Abuja international marathon.
“We call on other companies and cooperate organisations to join us in our quest to showcase the nation as a tourist destination,” she said.
Ogunmiloyo said there would be incentives for local runners and students that would be taking part in the race.
“Apart from the elite runners that will be coming for the race, we also have good incentives for the local runners and students that will be taking part in the marathon,” she said.
The Head of Media, Abuja Marathon, Olukayode Thomas, said no fewer than 35, 000 local runners had registered for the race, while 120 elite runners would also be participating.
“We also have lot of people that have registered for fun and student race. We will be giving local runners accommodation and transportation allowance just like we will give the elite athletes.
“This is part of the incentives we will be giving all the runners, be they local or elite athletes.
“We are also involving the international, Africa and Nigeria athletic federations to be part of the event,” Thomas said.
He said the winner of the elite runners will go home with 55,000 dollars as prize money.
Thomas said the first runner up would be rewarded with 40,000 dollars, while the second runner up would get 30,000 dollars.
“The winner of local runner category will go home with N3 million, second place will get N2 million and third will get N1 million in the full marathon.
“In the 10 kilometers race, the winner will get N1 million, second N750,000 and third N500,000,” he said.
Thomas said in the five kilometers category (student race) the winner will get N500,000 prize money, while second will be rewarded with N300,000 and third place N200,000.
John Shittu, the marketer of the race would start at the Abuja City Gate and finish up at the Eagle Square.
The Abuja international marathon is scheduled to take place on April 29.