Organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has said, with just a few days to the event scheduled for Saturday, over 8,000 additional late applications were received between Tuesday and Wednesday morning from intending participants.
General Manager of the competition, Yusuf Alli, told journalists at a media interactive session on Wednesday that though the late surge and the large number poses challenges for the organisers, they are compelled in consonant with the position of the sponsors to accommodate the late entries to encourage the growing enthusiasm for road races in Lagos and across the country.
Alli however expressed apprehension that more late entries may still be flowing in even till the morning of the event, a situation that needs to be discouraged to enable the organisers use the last days to concentrate more on perfecting technical details for the efficient delivery of the event rather than continuing on the processing of entries seven months after the portal had been opened for intending participants to apply.
As at Tuesday morning, about 90,000 entries had been processed with the issuance of kits commenced on Monday, while the additional 8,000 applications were received by Wednesday morning. The huge number tasks the work force of the organisers but Alli said they are coping well.
Alli pointed out that in comparison to other international races like the New York City Marathon which has about 17,000 workforce, the Lagos Marathon has just about 2,000 workers. He said the organisers might be compelled to introduce application fees, pointing out that the usual maximum 50,000 participants in the New York Marathon are chosen by ballot from over 250,000 entries.
It was to grapple with this situation in the Lagos Marathon that the 10km family fun race was introduced to cater for those who like to run but cannot complete the 42.5km marathon distance and also give ease for competitive runners.
“In the first edition, we had about 53,000 participants and only about 4,000 ran the distance under seven hours. In the second edition, we had about 70,000 and about 20,000 finished under 7hours. We had to introduce the 10km race to provide for the last group.”
Alli informed that to grapple with these challenges, especially to ensure security, about 500 Neighbourhood Watch personnel will be deployed to complement other security agencies.