The 2018 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is set to witness several innovations, one of which is the upgrade of prize monies from N1million that was won in the first two editions of the race, to N3million, for the top Nigerian finishers (Male and Female) in the 42km race. Winners of the Wheelchair race will cart home N1million each (Male and female).
Another new development is the introduction of a 10km non-professional Family Race put in place to encourage Nigerian participants to run for fun and healthy living, with winners in this category going home with brand new cars from GAC Motors.
This was disclosed at a press briefing held at the Access Bank Headquarters in Lagos on Thursday, with several dignitaries including Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission Deji Tinubu; Access Bank Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe; Chairman GAC Motors Diana Chan; Senior Brand Manager 7up Plc. Segun Ogunleye; Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President Ibrahim Shehu Gusau; General Manager of the race Yussuf Alli; musician Sound Sultan, and a host of others in attendance.
While unveiling the new plans ahead of the 2018 edition of the race slated to hold on February 10, 2018, Wigwe expressed Access Bank’s pleasure in returning as the lead sponsor for the marathon, which is ranked No.2 on the continent behind the Cape Town Marathon.
He said: “When we took the decision to sponsor the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon two years ago, it was because we wanted to change the narrative of Nigeria, and let the world see that great things can come out of this country, and from Lagos State in particular. We need to show that Lagos is secure and ready for business, and can truly host a world class event, so it is important that this narrative is captured correctly. We are extremely proud of all that has been achieved in the last two years, and are now working towards getting the IAAF Silver label.”
In his speech, Hon. Tinubu assured the organisers of the continued support of the Lagos State Government:
“The Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is one of the fastest growing sports events in the world, and we will continue to back causes that showcase the rich heritage and excellence of Lagos State. We will continue to provide an enabling environment for sports to thrive. Getting an IAAF Bronze label has shown that we are supporting the right event, so we all need to work together to make sure that this becomes one of the best races in the world”, he said.
AFN President Gusau lauded the organisers and the Lagos State Government for showcasing an Athletics event that is promoting the sport in a positive light, while promising that the new AFN board will not neglect grassroots development.
“I thank Access Bank and Lagos State immensely for putting Athletics back where it needs to be, because at a point, we lost it, but events like these show that we are getting back on track. When I was sworn in as president, I promised that we were going back to the grassroots. We have elite athletes, whom we are going to maintain. However, we would focus a lot on developing the sport at grassroots level. Very soon we will be unveiling our new plans for the year”.
General Manager of the race Alli, revealed that the organisers are expecting about 100,000 participants in 2018, and having achieved the IAAF Bronze label, the target is getting a Gold label soon.