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3,000 to run at 5th Okpekpe marathon

3,000 to run at 5th Okpekpe marathon

The 5th edition of the Okpekpe international 10km marathon holds today (Saturday) at Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo State, and over three thousand athletes will be participating, a top technical official has disclosed.

Yusuf Alli, a former Nigeria long jump king and former Commonwealth record holder, who disclosed this on Thursday in Okpekpe, also stated that “over 23 foreign elite athletes and 32 from the Nigerian elite class” will make the starting line.

“Everything is set. The athletes are here,” Alli said.

“We have done the lining of the route, particularly the kilometre markings. There will be water, sponges and refreshment stations along the route and at the finish and if I must add the drinking/sponging and refreshment stations are adequately staffed by competent personnels and everything has been done in accordance with IAAF Rule 240.8.

“The elite athletes, both foreign and local, are here in Auchi. They will go on a route tour today to familiarise themselves with the race course in line with International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) rules.”

Alli, who stated that athletes from eight nations will be participating at the event, also revealed that doping procedures will follow immediately after the race.

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“We have a doping station built since last year and it will be manned by competent anti-doping officers led by Dr Akin Amao formerly of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.

“The IAAF has listed the race as an international competition which means the doping will be done as if it is the IAAF World Championship that is taking place. The race is one of only two listed by the IAAF on their website as an international competition,” he said.

The Okpekpe international 10km road race is the first and only road race in Nigeria that has been granted full membership of Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and recognised as one of the prestigious road races in the world and the only race with an IAAF label status in West Africa.

In the last edition, Kenyan duo of Simon Cheprot and Polline Wanjiku Njeru emerged winners in the male and female categories respectively. They won the $15,000 prize money each after finishing in a record time of 29min: 48sec and 33min: 53sec respectively.

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