By John Ighodaro, Calabar
A record 78 foreign athletes will grace the fifth edition ofÂ the forthcoming Obudu international mountain race at the Obudu Ranch Resort in Obudu,Cross River state.Interestingly, Senator Liyel Imoke, the executive Governor of Cross River state has approved an increase in the prize monies for this yearâ€™s children race.
Disclosing this to journalists in Calabar,Â was William Archibong, chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the race.
His words:â€™â€™We are having a record number foreign participants for the fifth edition of the race which comes up on the 28th of November at the Obudu Ranch. This has confirmed not only the acceptability of the race as one of the best in the world but also our ability to organise world class eventsâ€™â€™,said Archibong whose LOC has been commended by Bruno Gozzelino,the new president of World Mountain Running Association for making the race a very big event in the calendar of the association.
Archibong also disclosed that all arrangements have been concluded to have a smooth race this year.
â€˜â€™We are ready to host the world again.We are happy that inspite of the negative reports the international press has been reporting about Nigeria, we haveÂ used the race in Obudu to debunk some of the lies.
This year we received so many entries to the extent that some of the athletes even offered to pay their ways to Obudu but we said no. We have aÂ responsibility to make the race as compact as possible so we have scrutinised all the entries and invited the best in the worldÂ mountain running can offerâ€™â€™,said Archibong
Imoke has approved an increase in the prize monies for the childrenâ€™s race which he introduced last year into the annual Obudu international mountain race.
The first prize has been doubled from N50,000 to a N100,000 for both male and female while the second prize moved from N40,000 to N80,000.The third prize has also been increased from N30,000 to N50,000.
Governor Imoke has also approved a further spread of the prize money to the 10th position as it is in the senior race with N20,000,,N10,000,N9,000,N8,000,N7,000,N6,000 and N5,000 for the 4th to the 10th placed male and female finishers.
The Obudu international mountain race covers a distance of 11 kilometres uphill to an altitude of 1,575 metres above sea level, taking the runnersÂ to one of the finest tourist destinations in the world, the Obudu Mountain Resort./