2023 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon: Olopade, Okorie eager to make race the biggest in the world


The Managing Director, Nilayo Sports Marketing Limited, Bukola Olopade and Chief Communication Officer, Access Corporation, Amaechi Okorie have assured that the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will continue to make necessary adjustments aimed at making the race among the standouts in the world.

The eighth edition of the race holds Saturday morning in Lagos with the start point at the National Stadium, Surulere and Olopade in a world press conference to herald the race says he is happy that the event has become a household name in Africa and among the biggest races in the world.

Olopade expressed his appreciation to the lead sponsors, the Access Corporation and Lagos State Government and other associate sponsors who believed in what started like a dream eight years ago and was thrilled that the promise made some years back to ensure the race attain gold label status had been achieved.

He thumbed up the role played by the World Athletics and Athletics Federation of Nigeria bodies to make this possible.

“Eight years ago when I sat down with Amaechi Okorie and top echelon of Access Corporation in company of Sola Aiyepeku, and late Deji Tinubu, there were a few skeptics who felt it was unnecessary to have marathon in Lagos and dissuaded Access Bank not to invest in it,” Olopade expressed during the world press conference.

“I told them to give the race a chance and that whatever I put my hand on always come out good. Today after eight years we are one of the biggest races in the world and the biggest in Africa with a gold label.

“For those who have always attended this press conference, we have always said from inception that we want to get gold label and that we would bring all experts to help us through this journey.

“Today we have been reminded that we are not yet where we ought to be with this race. The reason why I am filled with joy is because together with all the sponsors, Rexona, Three Crown, Kia Motors, 7up, Kenya Airways, top sponsor, Access Bank and Lagos State, it has been a journey that I am particularly grateful for. Without your support, we won’t be where we are today.”

The former Commissioner for Sports, Ogun State announced that elite runners have arrived from their base while the 2023 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon would welcome the inclusion of refugee runners from various countries for the first tome.

He charged the athletes to play according to the rule, compete with the aim of winning the star prize and enjoy their stay in Nigeria.

“What we are having this year is a gold label race with a lot of top runners including refugees running with us which is new. You are going to find out on the routes that we have introduced some new things that will fascinate you.”

In a related development, the Chief Communication Officer, Access Corporation, Amaechi Okorie urged the media to continue to project the race positively to proper lauder the image of Nigeria and Africa.

He charged Olopade and his team not to rest on the gold label status attained but should continue to target breaking new frontiers.

“With all the attention on the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, we are letting the world know that incredible things can indeed come out of Nigeria and Africa. But this isn’t enough,” Okorie disclosed during the press conference held at the Corporate Headquarters of Access Bank at Lekki, Lagos.

“Everybody here has that responsibility to reiterate that fact because our PR is not great. Let everybody know that the place to be is at the starting line of the race.”

Okorie stated that there was skepticism at the inception of the race because of what it would take to package the race of such magnitude but that the incredible teat pulled of by Olopade and this team has allayed their fears and that they do not have any reasons to fret again.

He added that the bank’s idea of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon in the next couple of years is for it to rank among the best in the world.

“We were skeptical when this began eight years ago because to start something like this is absolutely intense and requires incredible planning. But after eight years with the support of all we have made it happen and over time it is getting better and better. Gold label is just the beginning we are going further and further,” he continued.

“This race will be on every major calendar of every major brand. This is going to be expressed in the same way as Boston, New York, Los Angeles and others. Nigeria too will thick that box.

“We want the media to continue to portray Nigeria and Africa positively and that we are a force to reckon with. The race is going to be phenomenon.”


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