From next year, The 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be a fee paying race, this means all runners both in the 42km and 10 km needs to pay to participate as a certified runner, and according to Bukola Olopade, the 10km race, which is from the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge to the finishing point, which is the Eko Atlantic City will be more expensive.
This reality hasn’t dawn yet on Nigerians until few months to eight of February, 2020 and this might constitute a big challenge to potential runners and hinder the budding culture of long distance race the events has imbibe on Nigerians . It can also reduce the inflow of intending foreign runners, who has to consider the cost of registration fee, the travel expenses and other costs.
To continue the culture of long distance race and sustain the inflow of tourist during the events, the organizers needs to yield to the advice of Barrister Solomon Dalung, Nigeria Youth and Sport Ministers , who also believe that runners will still compete even if fee is introduced because of the commitment they have shown in the past but it should be done gradually.
‘’ I appeal to the organizers that the introduction of fees should be gradual because we are just reviving the marathon culture, the imposition should not be made to scare people, we should consider payment of fee when we are quite stable “.
In defence of the of the registration fee, Bukola Olopade thinks the policy will not affect the culture of marathon in Nigeria.
“For us to have the quality, people must pay to run. It is not my ideal. It is a global practice and the ideal is postulated by the IAAF who are the governing body for Athletics in the world.
We are looking at the rate between three thousand and five thousands naira “.
Sharing the same view with Bukoka Olopade , is the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Kweku Tandoh, who thinks the enthusiasm created in the past four editions is enough for people to pay to participate.
“A token amounts will regulate the ever increasing crowds. The quality of the marathons will be much higher and a number you can control. The funds created will ensure that the quality of the marathon is raised “
How much exactly will the runners pay next year?
The General Manager of Access Bank Lagos city Marathon, Yusuf Alli said,
“It is a little token, not necessary having a crowd, because if things are done for free, people will take it for granted.
Lagos city Marathon is the only marathon in the world that they don’t pay to participate.
It won’t be something big, it will be something that the runners can part with ‘’.
In a chat with Norrie Morrison, an accredited IAAF Measurer, who measured the 2019 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, when asked? “How many years does a marathon have to attain before they start charging runners? ‘’.
The Durban based IAAF Delegate to Okpekpe race said.
“Most races charge runners from the very first. Free entry is unusual “.
He also believed that fees will not discouraged the runners.
“No, I think it will mean a better organized event but I have made suggestions how this is promoted “.
Only time will tell what the reaction of Nigerians will be but what is certain from all analysis and opinions is that 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will the first Marathon in Nigeria that runners has to pay to participate .