Over three thousand athletes have been confirmed to run at the fifth Okpekpe international 10km road race which holds on Saturday at Okpekpe near Auchi in Edo State.
A top technical official of the race, Yusuf Alli, disclosed on Friday in Okpekpe that the number is made up of over 23 foreign elite athletes and 32 from the Nigerian elite class.
"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," said Alli, a former Nigeria long jump king and former Commonwealth record holder.
"I am delighted with the huge number of locals especially from North Ibie side which includes Okpekpe. It shows they have fully embraced the race. They will not only be running to be fit or just for the fun of it,they also have the opportunity to win money at the event. There is prize money for the North Ibie athletes courtesy Mr John Momoh, chairman and chief executive officer of Channels Television.
"Everything is set. The athletes are here. 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 refreshement stations are adequately staffed by competent personnels
and everything has been done in accordance with IAAF Rule 240.8."
Alli also revealed that doping procedures will follow immediately after the race.
"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 also said the race will be timed using full automatic electronic timing system and that there will be split timing at every kilometre.
''A clock Car will precede the race leaders indicating the time elapsed since the start of the race.The timing for the race will be done by MYLAPS Sports Timing, the internationally recognised automatic sports timing company. Last year we raised the bar in terms of organising road races in Nigeria by joining such world acclaimed marathons as Boston, Rotterdam and Melbourne marathons who now rely on MYLAPS technology for the world class timing of their events
"We also have the trackking application to enable the media,athletes and their friends and families as well as spectators and even sponsors to follow the progress of the participants as well as the entire organisation of the event.
The App which is available on iPhone and Android App stores is powered by MYLAPS Experience Lab,a division of MYLAPS Sports Timing'.
Alli also revealed that athletes from eight nations will be participating at the event.
The Okpekpe international 10km road race is powered by Pamodzi Sports Marketing,leaders in sports marketing and hospitality business in Nigeria.
It 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.
Last year Kenyan duo of Simon Cheprot and Polline Wanjiku Njeru came first in the male and female categories respectively. They went home with $15,000 prize money each after finishing in a record time of 29min: 48sec and 33min: 53sec respectively.