The ancient City of Ile Ife, South-Western State of Osun, Nigeria is set to host its first international marathon race tagged Ile Ife Heritage Marathon on February 4th 2018.
Speaking on the proposed international destination marathon race on behalf of the Ile Ife Heritage Marathon Organization (IHMO), the Race Director, Adedayo Akinbode said;
“We are excited to announce the maiden edition of the Ile Ife Heritage Marathon (IHM), which is scheduled to hold on Sunday 4th of February, 2018 in the ancient city of Ile Ife. The Ile Ife Heritage Marathon, is a destination marathon borne out of a desire to showcase to the world, the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba People through the century old Ile Ife matchless iconic heritages. The 42.195 Kilometer distance will meet the International athletics standards.
The marathon race event would also presents unique opportunities for visitors from within and outside Nigeria to have first-hand contacts with many of Ile Ife’s iconic cultural sites and values. It will also provide ample opportunity to introduce sports to the growing population of residents and People of the ancient city as a rallying platform for harmony, community and social development.
Commencing from the Obafemi Awolowo University premises, the expected 150 runners will weave their way through the campus premises and the ancient city to sight some of the world’s eye-catching historical icons like the world famous bronze head locally known as “The Ori Olokun Statue”, Opa Oranmiyan, The 42ft giant statue of Moremi- the beautiful wife of King Oranmiyan, who liberated the people of Ile Ife from Slave invaders in the 12th century and the bust of the legendary Yoruba Sage, Obafemi Awolowo, before heading for a royal welcome by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi at his Enu Owa Palace. “
Adedayo added that the international event has received support and endorsement of the Government of Osun State and the Ooni of Ile Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
The Ooni, in his official endorsement message to corporate organizations and influential individuals canvassed unalloyed support for the race thus;
“Ile Ife Heritage Marathon is a non-governmental and non-profit oriented organization with the sole aim of bringing Ile Ife –The Cradle of Yoruba Race and Nigeria into lime light in the field and Track event and to encourage a healthy living among Nigerians. The Project, which, in the spectrum of races will further place Nigeria in the long distance international running space is unarguably, larger than any individual and requires the support of well-meaning Organizations and Corporations”. Oba Ogunwusi called on corporate organizations to rally behind this event as it’s a unique platform for tourism development and social responsibility”.
The historic race, which is expected to give out Medals to all finishers is one of the 7 Marathons that comprise the 2018 West African Marathon Challenge series. Some of the runners participating in the Ile-Ife Heritage Marathon will proceed to participate in the Parakou Marathon in Republic of Benin on the 10th of February, the Boabab Marathon in Burkina Faso on the 13th of February and the Togo International Marathon on the 17th of February.
Participants and Supporters leave Lagos for Ile -Ife via Osogbo where we will visit the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, a UNESCO World Heritage site. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1118. Thereafter, they will visit Nike Centre for Arts and culture, where the birth of contemporary African art was heralded. They will be welcome to beats of traditional drummers and dancers before settling down to a sumptuous meal.
A reasonable number of Athletes have pre-registered to participate in event on the website: https://fogadventures.com.
“About 40 percent of the participants are friends of Nigeria from other nations of the world”, according to the pre-registration list.
The organizing committee is canvassing for support to come out en mass to cheer the runners, volunteer to support the runners at the aid stations or partner with IHMO.