By Peter Okolie
No fewer than 50 runners have so far signified interest in the maiden Onitsha City Marathon (OCM) event slated for Oct. 5, in Anambra.
Mr Philip Balepo, OCM Head of Media and Publicity made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha on Sunday.
Balepo said most of the athletes were foreign-based who were being managed by Nigerians.
According to him, elite athletes, mostly from Kenya, who have so far registered for the 21-kilometer event are expected to arrive in Nigeria on Oct. 2.
“The Kenyans are not alone in their strides to add Onitsha to their list of conquered cities.
“Elite athletes from Cameroun, Ghana, Uganda and Nigerians abroad have signed up for the event,” he said.
He said some of the athletes include Clement Langat, Timothy Kimeli, Bernard Sang, James Ngandu, George Manyiror as well as two female runners, Lenah Jerotich and Beatrice Cherono.
Balepo noted that 49-year old Adjarho Obaro, ”the only World Wrapperman,” who runs Charity Marathons around the world would also partake in the event.
“Obaro, who runs his race with the longest wrapper of eight yards weighing 4kg, is currently on a 17-day marathon to Onitsha from Lagos.
“On arrival, Obaro will still join the rest of the world to race the first Onitsha City Marathon, on Oct. 5,” Balepo disclosed.
He added that the Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, Most Rev. Valerian Okeken had accepted to be OCM Patron, promising to make the race a spectacular one.
Balepo, who described the event as the “first international marathon, South East of Nigeria,” expressed confidence that the event would help place Onitsha in the world map of sporting centres. (NAN)