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Over 50 runners have so far indicated interest in the first ever Onitsha City Marathon (OCM) event slated for October 5, in Anambra, Mr Philip Balepo, OCM Head of Media and Publicity disclosed in Onitsha on Sunday.
Balepo said most of the athletes were foreign-based who were being managed by Nigerians, adding that elite athletes, mostly from Kenya, who have so far registered for the 21-kilometer event are expected to arrive in Nigeria on October 2.
Said he: “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 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 just as he noted that 49-year old Adjarho Obaro, ”the only World Wrapperman,” who runs Charity Marathons around the world would also partake in the event.
Said Balope: “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 October 5″.
He added that the Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke had accepted to be OCM Patron, promising to make the race a spectacular one whilst describing the event as the “first international marathon, South-East of Nigeria,” and expressing confidence that the event would help place Onitsha in the world map of sporting centres.