60 athletes jostle for $80,000 prize in inaugural Abuja International Marathon
No fewer than 60 athletes will take part in the inaugural Abuja International Marathon, organizers announced on Thursday.
The winner of the event scheduled to take place on December 17, 2022 will take home $80,000 in prize money.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, project coordinator Mr Femi Abegunde told reporters that the 60 elite runners will come from all over the world.
Mr Abegunde said the foreign athletes will be joined by local runners for the $80,000 prize.
“The 42 kilometer race will start from City Gate through the interesting parts of the FCT and end in Eagles Square, with 60 runners (local and foreign), as the winner will walk away with $80,000.
“The desire to create an Abuja International Marathon is to showcase the city, attract investors, boost tourism and the economy as is done in other commercial cities around the world like London and New York .
“Our desire is to create a marathon that can compete with the best anywhere in the world.
“Abuja is a nice shop, which is closed. It might even have been the case since 2021 had it not been for the pandemic that has ravaged the entire world,” he said.
Also speaking at the press conference to inaugurate the event, Media Officer Mr Olukayode Thomas said the benefits will surpass him as Nigeria and the FCT will earn more than the prize money from the visitors who will invade the country.
“The event goes beyond the cash prizes as hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, goods retailers and other business owners will greatly benefit,” Thomas said.
He revealed that the New York City Marathon alone has drawn more than $400 million into the economy.
He added that the prize money may not exceed $1 million, but it brings in more than $400 million every year.