Over 40 foreign runners, including Kenyans, Ugandans and Azerbaijanis are expected to arrive in Nigeria today ahead of the maiden Ijebu Heritage International Half Marathon fixed for Saturday, July 17.
The introduction of the Ijebu Heritage International Half Marathon has increased the number of road races in Ogun State to three. While the Ijebu Heritage Half Marathon is fixed for this Saturday, July 17, the Abeokuta City 10km Race is scheduled for November 13 and Remo Value-Jet IAU African Championship will hold on December 14, 2021.
Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management, Bukola Olopade, told The Guardian yesterday that over 90 percent of the foreign runners would arrive in the country today. “Some of the foreign runners are already on ground, but we are expecting more than 90 percent of them tomorrow (today),” Olopade stated.
Ogun State Commissioner of Sports, Dare Kehinde, had explained that road races and other sports activities is one of the five-cardinal points agenda of Dapo Abiodun’s administration.
According to the organisers, Kenya’s Bernard Sang, who won the 2020 Istanbul Marathon, is among the international athletes expected in Ijebu Ode today. Others include Kenya’s Hosea Chirchir Kiplimo, Rhonzas Lokitam Kilimo, Eliud Mewangi, Sammy Nyokaye, John Muriuri Mburi, William Amponsah, Titus Kipruto Kibiego, and Paul Koech.
Also listed is Uganda’s Ezekiel Chepkoromk, with a personal best of 01:01:46, and Azerbaijan’s Desta Fitsun Weldu.
The women’s category is also dominated by Kenyans, including Shila Jepkosgei, who is a World Athletics gold-label runner with a Personal Best of 01:10:58, Gladys Jepkemoi Chemweno, Caern Jebet Maiyo, Ruth Karanja, Susy Chebet Chemaimak and Hannah Wanjiru Gatheru.
Uganda’s Racheal Zena Chebet with a Personal Best of 01:10:13 and Bahrain’s Damaris Muthee Mutua with a personal best of 01:10:13 will also be running in Ijebu.
The Ijebu Heritage Half Marathon will starts on Saturday morning at Tunde Debasco Road, Ejirin and ends at Otunba Dipo Dina International Stadium.