Heritage Bank Limited has extended its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vote for wellness and physical fitness of Nigerians to the 10-kilometre Okpekpe Road Race as the ‘official banker’ of the race organisers.
The annual international event, which will take place on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Okpekpe, Edo State, has been certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a ‘bronze label’ event on its calendar, is in its third edition.
The second edition of the race in 2014 had Enterprise Bank as its official banker. The banks has since been acquired by Heritage Bank.
According to a statement signed by the bank’s head of corporate affairs, Fela Ibidapo, and made available to LEADERSHIP Sports, the bank’s sponsorship of the10-kilometre race is also meant to partner with the Edo State government and the event organisers, Pamodzi Sports Marketing Limited, in the joint bid to create a platform of support and exposure for Nigerian and African youths to international marathons.
The Okpekpe Road Race, which is the only IAAF labeled marathon in Africa, will feature in this edition over 28 professional athletes and participants from more than 10 countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Morroco, Nigeria, Norway, among others.
Some of the world-class female runners that will take part in the Opkekpe race include four Ethiopians – 2013 IAAF Bronze Medalist Debele Worknesh Degete, former 15-kilometer World record-holder Deriba Merge, 2014 Los Angeles Marathon Champion Amane Gobena and 2015 Oromia Region Half Marathon winner Mesret Gonfa.
The male category will headlined by 2015 Ooredo Half Marathon Champion Yitayal Atanfu (Ethiopia), winner of the 2015 Seoul International Marathon winner Jacob Kendgor (Kenya) and runner-up in the second edition of 2014 Okpekpe Road Race Amos Mitel (Eritrea).
Nigeria will parade runners like Emmanuel Gyang, Gideon Goyet, John Bolus Jan, Ismail Sadijo and Lawrence Osheku, who emerged 2013 and 2014 Edo State indigenous winners of the race.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd in both categories will receive $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, with the 4th to 8th winning runners up for cash prizes of $8,000, $6,000, $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively totalling $142,000 (about N30m).
Culled from http://leadership.ng/sports/432330/heritage-bank-backs-2015-okpekpe-race