World Athletics has confirmed that the ninth edition of the Okpekpe international 10km road race will hold on Saturday May 27, 2023 in Okpekpe town near Auchi in Edo state.
The race, the first road running event to be granted a label status by World Athletics in West Africa, according to World Athletics will be one of the 40 gold-label road running events to hold in 2023.
It will also be 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.
According to the calendar released by World Athletics, the gold label Okpekpe international 10km road race will be the only label road race to hold May 27 which means the focus of the entire world will be on Okpekpe, a small, agrarian community in Estako East local government of Edo state for the world class event.
Race organiser, Mike Itemuagbor is delighted the race has continued to lead the way in the West African sub-region and has become 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,” said Itemuagbor.
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 they have provided for the race to attain the enviable height it has reached and the many historic feats it has achieved.
“Our appreciation also goes to the athletes, officiating officials, medical personnels, 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 height the race have 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,” said Itemuagbor.
Apart from being the first road race in West Africa with a label status and AIMS recognition, Okpekpe race has also opened the way for others in the sub-region, particularly in Nigeria to aspire for international recognition.
Itemuagbor assured the race will 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.