The Managing Director of Unicentral Resources Generation Limited Zsusanna Ogunmiloyo has commended the Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, for awarding the only slot for Full Marathon (42.195km) in the FCT to her firm, Unicentral.
A statement signed by Olukayode Thomas, Race Director, Abuja International Marathon, who is also the Head of Media and Publicity, said the management and staff of Unicentral are grateful to Dr. Aliyu who – after thoroughly examining their bids and presentations – finally okayed Unicentral’s bid and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to give the firm the sole right to organise the only full marathon in FCT for the next five years.
Ogunmiloyo, who is also the Managing Director of Abuja International Marathon, said Dr. Aliyu’s approval is in line with the best global practices and standards approved by the governing bodies of athletics and marathons and road races in the world.
The world’s biggest marathon destinations like New York, Tokyo, Dubai, London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Chicago, Boston, Dubai and – nearer home Lagos, Nairobi and Durban – all have only one full marathon.
Ogunmiloyo said, “the logistics involved in the organization of a full marathon is huge, especially partial closure and total closure of the entire route for the duration of the race. That is why most cities have one full marathon and other races are half-marathons, 15km, 10km, and 5km”.
Ogunmiloyo assured. Aliyu, the Minister of FCT Hon. Mohammed Musa Bello, the permanent secretary Adesola Olusade, and the entire management and staff of FCTA, residents, and visitors to FCT that Unicentral will organize a world-class race.
‘’Our dreams for Abuja International Marathon are very high, but we know they are achievable,“ she said.
“That is why we have headhunted some of the best brains in marathons and road races in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world for this project. They have been working on the project for the last three years and the results are feasible.
“We are the first full marathon in Nigeria to have its route measured and calibrated by AIMS and World Athletics before its first edition. Because we have experts working on the project, we have a runners’ friendly routes for all our races. We are also the first to organise an all-inclusive race. We will have for the first time in Nigeria on December 17, 2022, a full international marathon, a 10km and a 5 km. This is a first in Nigeria.‘’
Ogunmiloyo also announced that the elite field for Abuja International Marathon was capable of running sub 2 hours: 10 minutes, which will be another first in Nigeria.
“We are working all day and all night to deliver in Nigeria a world class-race that will rival the Abbott World Marathon Majors. We are appealing to Corporate Nigeria and Nigerians in general – especially citizens and residents of FCT – to support this noble project that will not only sell Abuja to the world as a tourist destination and a place to work and invest but it will also take away Abuja’s blemish as the only iconic city in Africa without a world-class international marathon,” she said.