In a bid to encourage young Nigerians in marathon and road races, the organisers of the Abuja International Marathon have announced prize money for any Nigerian students from age 17 or below, who gets to the finish line of the 5km Students Race, Our correspondent reports.
The race is in three categories: the full marathon, 10km race and the 5km for students.
Race director Olukayode Thomas told Our correspondent that the first five Nigerian students to clock the finish line in the 5km race will be rewarded with cash prizes.
“The winner of the 5km race will pocket N500,000, the second takes home N300,000, while N200,000 is for the third prize winner. Also, the fourth and fifth winners will be given N100,000 and N50,000 respectively.”
According to the organisers, both Nigerian and foreign elite runners, alongside students, will partake in the 5km, 10km and full marathon races slated for April 29, 2023.
Meanwhile, FCT Director of schools sports Adamu Hashimu, in a press briefing, said the aim of the 5km race was to encourage Nigerian youths to embrace road races and marathons.
Hashimu further noted that before prizes were paid, the race organisers Unicentral Resources Generation Limited and the FCTA would confirm the information on the entry form of the winners from their respective schools.
“Nigerians who are familiar with the performances of our people will remember that when the world record in the marathon was 2hr: 08mins, Nigerians like Abass Mohammed and Yohanna Waziri were running 2hr:14mins, a very good time that has won about seven editions of the Lagos Marathon,” Hashimu said.
“In the FCT Sports Department, we have our own Hulda Nwokocha, who once placed fifth in the marathon at the World Universities Games.
“So, we need to start a development programme that will see our students, especially those from the Northern part of Nigeria, who have similar physiological traits with Kenyans and Ethiopians, embrace the culture of marathon and road races at a tender age”
About 30,000 runners, which include 50 foreign elite runners and 120 local elites, are expected to participate in the marathon.