Kenya’s Sheila Jerotich, who is a World Athletics gold-label marathoner, has been confirmed as one of the elite runners that will grace the inaugural edition of the Kaduna Marathon slated for November 21, 2020.
Bukola Olopade, Managing Director of Nilayo Sports Management Limited and consultant to the Kaduna Marathon, made this disclosure on Tuesday.
According to Mr Olopade, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, aims to use next month’s race to further encourage peaceful co-existence and friendliness in his state.
The governor is also hoping to boost the economy of the state, empower and engage the youth, encourage healthy life and bring in tourists from different parts of the world with the Kaduna Marathon; hence the drive to have as many top-class runners as possible.
“Running with elite runners is a thing of joy for fun runners, it’s just like an amateur footballer playing alongside Mikel Obi. So we are bringing a strong field of elite runners to Kaduna in order to attract local and international audience and ultimately Kaduna Marathon will become a label race soon” said Mr Olopade.
Apart from Jerotich who has the World Athletics gold label and has won many races including the highly-rated Kosice Marathon, the strong field of label elite runners include John Muriuri Mburu, a Kenyan who ran 1.02.08 in half marathon, and Rotich Mitei John from Kenya with 1.03:04.
Azerbaijan’s Desta Fitsun Weldu, Ethiopian Gebremedhin Silasssie Gebremedhin, Ugandan Immaculate Chemmutai and Lensa Daba Kabtimer from Ethiopia are also all listed for the maiden Kaduna Marathon.
Mr Olopade also revealed that Zimbabwean Fortunate Chidvizo, Kenyan Nancy Jesang, Ethiopian Mawcha Adane Nega and the Ghanaian duo of William Amponsah and Ismael Arthur will all be running in the Crocodile City.
Also, the Kenyan trio of Gladys Jepkemoi Chemweno, Careen Cheptoeck and Shila Jepkosgei Chesang are all in the mix for what many are predicting would be a memorable race,
Mr Olopade said the organizers are still negotiating with more elite runners and once negotiations are concluded their names will be announced.
He thanked the media for their support for marathon and road races in Nigeria, saying, “Just five years after the culture of international marathons and road races was revived in Nigeria, it has spread like wildfire to all the nook and crannies of Nigeria, this would not have been possible without the media, we thank the gentlemen of the press for their support’.”