By Daniels Nwokike.
All is set for the maiden event of the Half Marathon Championship of the Armed Forces of Nigeria(AFN) in collaboration with other security agencies which is to take place in Abuja on the 29th of April 2017.
The Half Marathon is a 21.5 kilometers, 1 hour, 30 minutes endurance race which will start from area 1 round about opposite National hospital, going through the Abuja international stadium, Mabushi express, kado overhead bridge, Maitama-Kubwa express way, AYA and terminating at the parade ground of the Mogadishu barracks.
Chairman of the Organising Committee, Major General S.J Davies while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said that there have been other events like the cross country held previously but none is in the magnitude of the Half Marathon which is the first of its kind, adding that the event is designed to strengthen and foster the relationship between AFN and other security agencies.
He pointed out that the Chief of Defense staff, General AG Olonisakin, in his quest to solidify the cordial relationship between AFN and other security agencies, deemed it fit that sports is the fastest way to achieve that goal as the competition will allow the different security agencies to rob minds together and share experiences with the Armed Forces.
While addressing the issue of traffic congestion that may present itself on that day, he disclosed that measures have been taken to avoid having traffic grid lock.
He said, “For every intersections where the athletes pass, we open those roads. So, the roads are not going to be completely locked for the period of the competition”.
Davies further said that where it is impossible to close the road temporarily like AYA, the Nigeria Police Force and Road Safety Officers will be on ground to manage the situation.
Speaking further on medical and security arrangements in case of any emergency, the chairman said that there will be both static and mobile ambulances on all routes, motor bikes with communications, two helicopters and towing vehicles; as well as mounted troops on horse back at strategic locations to provide cover for the athletes and also to prevent cheats from having their way.
While answering the question posed to him by The Sight News on the possibility of rotating subsequent championship across the country, Davies said that it is the desire of his committee that subsequent ones be held outside Abuja, adding that this is the maiden event.
The chairman announced that 10 security agencies will be participating in the Half Marathon and these agencies comprises of : The Army, The Airforce, The Police, The Civil Defence Corps, The Federal Road Safety, The Nigeria Customs, The Nigeria Immigration Service, Fire Service, The Nigeria Prisons and The Nigeria Navy.
He said also that there will be 120 Marathoners that day of which 20 are Veterans and thereby encouraged the general public to come out en mass to cheer these agencies on that day.