The ancient city of Ile Ife, Osun state, Nigeria, is set to host its first international marathon race, tagged Ile Ife Heritage Marathon on February 4th 2018.
Speaking on the proposed international marathon race on behalf of the Ile Ife Heritage Marathon Organization (IHMO), the Race Director, Adedayo Akinbode said; “We are excited to announce the maiden edition of the Ile Ife Heritage Marathon (IHM), which is scheduled to hold on Sunday 4th of February, 2018 in the ancient city of Ile Ife. The Ile Ife Heritage Marathon is a destination marathon borne out of a desire to showcase to the world, the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba People through the century old Ile Ife matchless iconic heritages. The 42.195 Kilometer distance will meet the International athletics standards. The marathon race event would also presents unique opportunities for visitors from within and outside Nigeria to have first-hand contacts with many of Ile Ife’s iconic cultural sites and values. It will also provide ample opportunity to introduce sports to the growing population of residents and People of the ancient city as a rallying platform for harmony, community and social development. Commencing from the Obafemi Awolowo University premises, the expected 150 runners will weave their way through the campus premises and the ancient city to sight some of the world’s eye-catching historical icons like the world famous bronze head locally known as “The Ori Olokun Statue”, Opa Oranmiyan, The 42ft giant statue of Moremi- the beautiful wife of King Oranmiyan, who liberated the people of Ile Ife from Slave invaders in the 12th century and the bust of the legendary Yoruba Sage, Obafemi Awolowo, before heading for a royal welcome by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi at his Enu Owa Palace. Adedayo added that the international event has received support and endorsement of the Government of Osun State and the Ooni of Ile Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. The Ooni, in his official endorsement message to corporate organizations and influential individuals canvassed unalloyed support for the race thus; “Ile Ife Heritage Marathon is a non-governmental and non-profit oriented organization with the sole aim of bringing Ile Ife –The Cradle of Yoruba Race and Nigeria into lime light in the field and Track event and to encourage a healthy living among Nigerians. The Project, which, in the spectrum of races will further place Nigeria in the long distance international running space is unarguably, larger than any individual and requires the support of well-meaning Organizations and Corporations”. Oba Ogunwusi called on corporate organizations to rally behind this event as it’s a unique platform for tourism development and social responsibility.”