Saturday, 11 February 2017 17:30

100,000 athletes from 27 countries compete in Lagos marathon race

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PerSecondNews -- More than 100,000 athletes from 27 countries, including Nigeria, are taking part in today’s marathon race in Lagos, the nation’s and West Africa’s commercial hub.

 

The sports contest, now in its second edition and sponsored by Access Bank Plc., started at 7.00 am and will end at 2.00 pm with participants running through major routes across the city.

Scheduled to take off from the National Stadium at Surulere and terminate at Eko Atlantic City on Victoria Island, Lagos, the race will feature around 64 elite athletes from 26 countries, 30 special athletes and 102 runners from Nigeria.

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who led participants, said on Friday that adequate preparations had been put in place to ensure the safety of participants and overall success of the event.

President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Mr. Solomon Ogba; the Acting President of the International Association of Ultra runners, Mr. Nadeem Khan; representatives of the International Association of Athletics Federations, and representatives of the sponsors, while assuring Lagosians of a great experience, said the event was designed to be among the top 10 in the world.

To ensure a hitch-free exercise, the state government announced the deployment of 300 officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority across major parts of the city to make human and vehicular movement easier during the duration of the event.

Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Lagos, Kehinde Bada, also said the command would deploy 350 officers and men to further prevent any crisis during the event.

However, following the announcement, motorists and residents had expressed deep concern over the closure of some roads within the city today, saying it would affect their movements and businesses.

Commercial bus drivers, who decried the situation, indicated that fares might be increased if there is heavy traffic within the city and many passengers stranded at bus stops.

One of them, Alhaji Kareem, said, “Normally, I run the Ibafo, Obalende and CMS route but because the Third Mainland Bridge would be closed for the most part of the day, I may not work. Instead, I could ply Ibafo to Berger throughout the day. It is what I meet on ground that would determine if I would increase my fare or not.”

Another commercial bus driver, Fatai Akindele, said  the marathon was going to affect his income for the day because he would not be able to make the number of trips he used to make on a good day.

 “I have just fixed my bus with the hope of working with it for most part of Saturday so that I can gather some money only for me to hear that some roads would be closed between 7am and 2pm. This will cause serious problem for us because we would not be able to pick enough passengers and meet our target for the day,” he said.

A private car owner, Mr. Kayode Bamidele, who works with a company in the Lagos Island area of the city, said that the traffic diversion would “really” affect him because he had to be in the office at all cost.

Another motorist, Mr. Adesuyi Elijah, said that since the closure would start by 7am and with the way he “suffered” during last year’s edition, he would leave his house by 5am to be able to keep up with his “very important” appointment.

Mrs. Joy Ikeagbu, a food canteen operator around the Jibowu area of the city, said she won’t bother going to her shop today from her Oworonshoki home because the marathon and closure of some roads would have a negative impact on her business.

 

Other business owners who spoke to newsmen lamented that the road closure would lead to a significant drop in patronage and income for the day.

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