AGENE GODWIN, Benin
The organizer of the 10km Okpekpe road race says the primary focus of the 2016 edition of the short marathon race will be to raise awareness as well as funds for the scourge of breast cancer and orphans in the country.
The organizer, Mike Ituemagbon, who announced May 7 for the fourth edition of the race, disclosed this at a press conference in Benin on Saturday.
He also said the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), will use the race to propagate their “Safer Life and fuller life” campaign.
He explained that rather than prize money being the focus, the 2016 edition of the Okpekpe race will be used as a platform to achieve the above stated objectives.
To this end, Ituemagbon said the first lady of Edo and Miss Nigeria, will propagate these messages through their respective pet projects using such mediums as branded shirts during the marathon race.
According to him, “The race is not all about prize money. It is going to be about our health and to draw global attention to our health. Run for a course, this is what this year’s race is all about. Run for a specific and particular purpose.
On the incident of cheating as witnessed at the third edition of the race, the PAMODZI boss said transpodent technology will be deplored to eliminate cheating.
“It will be worn by every athlete that will be participating. This time, nobody will chase you, the time you ran will automatically register at the end of the race.
“We are also using drones for the first time. They will be deployed at the end point and the starting line.
“In addition, without a number, you can’t run. The numbers ranges depending on what category of race you will be participating on. All this is to avoid incidents of cheating as witnessed last year.
Speaking on the number of athletes that have so far registered for the race, Ituemagbon said, “The figure is alarming.”
According to him, “We already have over 300 elite runners that have indicated interest but we are only going to be taking 30 of them.
“This is because we discovered that most of them that participated in the past only came to enjoy our label to boost their career.
“We will be taking only those with good timing unlike before that we will take anyone who comes.”
Ituemagbion said the fourth edition of the Okpekpe race will be better in terms of organization. “We are not there yet. We want to get to the Silver label soon while our aim is the Gold label,” he said.