Activities leading to the first Abuja International Marathon slated for Saturday, April 29, 2023, will begin on Friday with an expo billed for The Pavillion, beside the International Conference Centre, opposite Radio House, Abuja.
The Abuja International Marathon, the first of its kind in the FCT, is in three categories, the five kilometres race for students, the 10 kilometres family run and the 42 kilometres race for elite and passionate runners.
According to Race Director, Olukayode Thomas, the Marathon Expo, with the theme ‘Showcasing the best of FCT,’ will start by 9.00 a.m. and end by 6.00 p.m. daily.
Thomas said that runners would collect their running vests, goody bags, transpondants and running numbers at the Expo. He said that Seven-Up Bottling Company, the official refreshing company for the race, has a lot of entertainment in store for the runners and visitors at the Expo, adding that there would be quizzes, games, music and prizes for participants.
Entertainers from the FCT Arts and Culture Department, he said, will also be at the event to entertain visitors and runners.
“For those interested in FCT landmarks and tourist attraction centres, officials of the FCT Tourism Department will be on ground to take them around the FCT with tour guides that will answer their questions.
“About 50 foreign elite runners and 120 local elites have registered to participate in the race. They will be joined by thousands of Nigerian runners that have registered to participate in the three categories,” he said.
Thomas urged Abuja residents to come out en masse to cheer the runners as residents do around the world, saying, “I will also appeal to residents and those that intend to visit Abuja over the weekend of April 29, that most parts of the city will be closed to traffic on Friday, April 28, 2023, from 10.00 p.m. till 2.00 pm on Saturday, April 29, 2023.
“But, I want to assure everybody that top security experts and members of the FRSC are working to provide alternative routes for residents.’’ He said the gains of the Abuja Marathon far outweigh the few road closures, adding: “We need to start telling our stories with activities like Abuja International Marathon. Abuja is a beautiful city, no doubt, but how many times have we showcased the city to the world?
“This is probably the first time that Abuja will be beamed to the world for four hours. This race will show the best part of Abuja and its landmarks to the world for fours so let us all work with the FCTA to make the epoch event a huge success.’’