As preparations for the 2019 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon (ABLCM) begin, organizers have revealed plans to take the race a notch higher with an International Association of Athletics Federation Silver Label in view.
Speaking at a press conference at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, officially announced the outset of preparations for the marathon which will take place on February 2, 2019.
Governor Ambode, said, next year’s event will feature no less than 150,000 local and international participants, as organizers and sponsors prepare to take a shot at improving the race’s rating from bronze to silver label. He went on to state that the reason for this is to create a new platform with the 2019 edition of the race, that will help pave the way for future marathon races in Lagos state.
“We believe this is achievable. This is not necessarily about me; it is not even about the sponsors, but about making Lagos to be on that top brand across the world and that is how cities are elevated to become global brand.”
– Governor Ambode
The Governor, went on to affirm that this time around, more attention will be paid on physically-challenged athletes as well as local athletes who will be competing at the event. The prize money for local races and the physically-challenged categories have been bumped up to encourage more participation.
In his last words at the conference, the governor lauded Nigeria’s sports icons who were present including Mary Onyali, Samson Siasia and Waheed Akanni, enthusing that, they are proof of what the LCM stands for — an avenue to help create new sets of jobs and services through sports as a driving force in our economy.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandor, said Governor Ambode had given the approval to set up a Lagos City Marathon Village, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, which will serve as a workroom to aid the present administration stage mini-marathons in the five divisions of the state. The governor also approved the constitution of a Marathon Council that will oversee the 2019 Marathon and others in future.
“It is going to serve as the headquarters for marathon races in Lagos. What we have in mind is to have sectoral marathons, Lagos Women Run is coming up next month, we have SWAN Marathon coming up in December and we also envisage that we are going to be having EPE Marathon, Ikorodu Marathon and so on.”
The Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, applauded the government of Lagos state for their efforts in making the marathon an acclaimed annual international event.
Wigwe went on to assert the support of Access Bank to the race, stating that next year’s edition will definitely see the race pick an IAAF Silver label.