By George Okogie, Lagos
The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, has promised to midwife a fruitful marriage between the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon and the New York Marathon.
Speaking after being decorated with the medal he won at the 2017 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon by Head of Communications and Media Olukayode Thomas, Sowore, who has participated in marathons in different parts of the world, said the standard of Access Bank Lagos Marathon is very high and was impressed with the organization.
“ I was impressed by the turn out for the Lagos Marathon. Thousands of people participated yet they so were disciplined and organized and most people ran till the end and I did not see any cheating. This means Lagos and her people are starting to imbibe the culture of marathons and I hope that more Nigerian cities will follow this worthy example.”
Sowore recalled that he had lost his place in the 2017 edition of the New York Marathon but his place was restored after the organizer saw clips of participation in the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon,
“At the Lagos Marathon, someone taped my race. We produced a small documentary. By the time I got back to New York, I had lost my spot for the 2017 New York Marathon .I appealed to them and they would not listen so I sent them a copy of the Lagos Marathon and said ‘I was away in Lagos to run their marathon and we deserve the same kind of publicity that New York does. You must adopt Lagos as one of your sister cities ’. Within five minutes, I got a response saying okay, I can participate. So I am going to participate and I am going to see how they can partner with the Lagos Marathon.”
Sowore posited that because of the peculiar nature of Lagos, the marathon will sell the city to the world.
“People will love to come and run in Lagos. You cannot find another city like Lagos. Lagos is New York City on steroids. People love that. They love interesting cities, even notorious cities with passion for sports. Take for instance, Rio de Janeiro. You can be walking on the beach and pick pockets nick your phones or valuables, yet people do not mind, they went for the Olympics, carnivals and all that. And these are very interesting ways of bringing in investment to a place like Lagos. When people come to run marathons, they are coming from all over the world and they bring money with them, they spend it here.”
According to Sowore, Lagos need not wait till February for the next marathon.
“Why don’t we have a Third Mainland Bridge Dash or Ojuelegba Dash. We can have a Malaria Marathon, Cancer 10k, etc. If you have more marathons, less people would pay attention to Big Brother Naija.”