The ninth edition of the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race, the first road running event to be granted a label status by World Athletics in West Africa, is set to hold on Saturday May 27, 2023 in Okpekpe town near Auchi, Edo State.
According to World Athletics, the race would be one of the 40 gold-label road running events to hold in 2023 and the second gold-label 10km road race to hold next year after the TCS World 10K Bengaluru in Bengaluru, India, which holds on May 7, 2023.
As the only label road race to hold on May 27, the small agrarian community of Okpekpe in Estako East Local Government of Edo State is expected to enjoy international attention as a world-class event.
Race organiser, Mike Itemuagbor expressed delight that the race had continued to lead the way in the West African sub-region, becoming one of three races in Africa to be granted a gold label rating in 2023.
The first gold label road race in Africa and the continent’s first World full Marathon major is the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in South Africa.
“We have done all the documentations required and we are delighted that World Athletics has confirmed the date we set for the race,” Itemuagbor said.
Itemuagbor thanked the Edo State Government, particularly His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki and his sportsman deputy Comrade Philip Shaibu, for the support and the enabling environment for the race to attain the enviable heights it has reached and the many historic feats it has achieved.
“Our appreciation also goes to the athletes, officiating officials, medical personnel, our sponsors and indeed the good and great people of Okpekpe and the entire Etsako East local government who have all contributed greatly and significantly to the historic heights the race has reached since we started in 2013.
“Without you, there would have been no Okpekpe race. You made the race the number one road running event in Nigeria and with you, we can aspire to become the first platinum race not only in Nigeria but Africa,” Itemuagbor said.
Apart from being the first road race in West Africa with a label status and AIMS recognition, Okpekpe Race has paved the way for others in the sub-region, particularly in Nigeria, to aspire for international recognition.
Itemuagbor assured enthusiasts that the race would continue to be a reference point for road running in Nigeria.
“We are already advanced in our preparations for the race and we shall organise a gold label race with all the trappings of a platinum label event,” he said.