As many as 20 gold level running athletes will be among the elite of athletes confirmed for Saturday’s 7th Okpekpe International 10kilometre Road Race, which holds in Okpekpe near Auchi, Etsako East Local Government area of Edo State, organisers of the event have confirmed.
Leading the cast of gold level running athletes are former Okpekpe race winners, Alex Korio and Simon Cheprot of Kenya. Korio won in 2015 (29.20) while Cheprot outran all his rivals the following year (29:47). Both are 27 minutes runners as they hold 27:48 (2017) and 27:41 (2014) respectively.
“Just last June, Cheprot ran 27.44 at Oelde in Germany and looks to become the first man to win two Okpekpe titles,” said Mercy Etukudo, head of secretariat for the first IAAF road running event in West Africa to be granted an IAAF label status.
“We also have Taye Grima, one of the Ethiopians on board the Okpekpe train that will challenge the Kenyans for the title. He has done 28:33 this year (January) and looks to be among the on-form athletes who will be coming to rewrite the course record on Saturday,” Etukudo added.
For the women, another former winner, Polline Wanjiku will be leading the charge for the title and possibly set a new course record.
“Wanjiku was the winner in 2016 and ran 33 minutes, 28 seconds to win. She is one of the gold level running athletes that we hope will crack the course record on Saturday.”
Etukudo is confident this year’s race will be very explosive going by the quality of athletes confirmed, and revealed why organisers of the event invited as many as 20 gold level running athletes, surpassing the 12 stipulated by the IAAF.