By Sodiq Lawal
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi , is set to host the first international marathon in Ile Ife on February 4 .
The Race Director of Ile Ife Heritage Marathon Organisation , Mrs . Adedayo Akinbode, said at a press conference in Osogbo on Thursday no fewer than 150 athletes from Nigeria and other countries would participate in the race
Akinbode explained that the 42 .195 km marathon would also be used as an opportunity to showcase the cultural heritage of Ile Ife .
She stated that the international event had received the support of the Osun State Government and corporate organisations as well as individuals.
Akinbode said , “ The marathon will also present unique opportunities for visitors from within and outside Nigeria to have a firsthand contact with many of Ile Ife’s iconic cultural sites and values . It will also provide ample. opportunities to introduce the sport to the growing population ofv residents as a platform of social development”
The Osun State Commissioner for Sports and Special Needs , Mr. Biyi Odunlade , said the state government was fully in support of the race .
He stated that the state government would help make the race a memorable one for all participants .
He said “ There are three key objectives to this programme; this kind of initiative was part of six integral point agenda of the governor in building a healthy lifestyle for every citizen of the state ; to make known the cultural heritage we are blessed with in the state and to boost the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
“Commencing from the Obafemi Awolowo University premises , the expected 150 runners will pass through the campus premises and the city to sight some of the world’ s eye -t catching historical icons like the world famous bronze head locally known as ‘Ori Olokun ’ , ‘Opa Oranmiyan’, the 42 ft of Moremi and the bust of legendary Yoruba sage , Obafemi Awolowo, before heading for a royal welcome at the palace of th Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi .”