By Moses Omorogieva
Lagos, Nov. 6, 2020 The organisers of the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have announced two major changes to the 2021 edition of the Silver Label race, with the first being that only 10,000 runners from across the world would participate.
The organisers also suspended the 10km race which has always been the crowd puller since it was introduced into the Lagos Marathon.
Bukola Olopade, the race consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management Company, explained on Friday in Lagos that the reduction in the number of participants was in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The drastic reduction in the number of runners was in adherence to safety COVID-19 protocols.
“The measure is put in place by the World Athletics, Presidential Task Force, Sports Ministry and other relevant bodies to checkmate the further spread of COVID-19 in the country,’’ he said in a statement.
He added “We’ve stepped back to take a breather and ensure that all strategies are put in place to have a race that would fit the protocols put together by the World Athletics, PTF, Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“At the end of the day, we do not put brands and even the state in trouble, and I can say now we have mapped out our strategies and ready to deliver a safe race.
“Outside the reduction of runners to 10,000, the 10km race which has always been the crowd puller since it was introduced into the Lagos Marathon has also been suspended from the 2021 race.
“We are only focusing on our flagship race which is the 42km that already has a Silver Label from the World Athletics; with what we are putting in place for 2021, we hope we can be upgraded to the Gold Label.
“Beyond the usual fanfare, the goal for 2021 is to stage a world-class event that is equally safe for all.’’
Already, activities for the 2021 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has officially commenced with the flagging off of registration on Thursday by top officials of the Lagos State Sports Commission.
Olopade added that the Executive Chairman of the Sports Commission Sola Aiyepeku, alongside the Director-General, Oluwatoyin Gafaar were honored with the first two entry forms for the 2021 race.
Aiyepeku praised the ingenuity of the organisers for mapping out modalities for a safe race adding that Lagos State was making a big statement to stage the 2021 race.