Organisers of the maiden edition of the Onitsha City Marathon, OCM, announced that it has secured soft drink giants, Coca-Cola Nigeria, as its first official sponsor.

Philip Balepo, Head of Media and Publicity of OCM said on Thursday that the sponsorship deal was sealed during a meeting with a representative of the company, the Regional Trade Marketing Coordinator, Monday Afesumen, in Onitsha.

Afesumen praised the coming of the marathon to the great commercial city of Onitsha, saying: “since this is the maiden international edition east of the Niger, Coca-Cola is happy to associate with the event, as an international company as well.”

The half marathon race which covers 21 kilometres and holds on Oct. 5, as one of the events ahead of this year’s annual Ofala Festival.

The OCM also said it has picked up media partnership relationship with two major radio stations in Onitsha – the City Radio 89.7 FM and WAZOBIA 93.7 FM.

The race is backed by Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), the IAAF and the Association of International Marathoners (AIMS).

Balepo added that the marathon has also been endorsed by Traditional Ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha.

He confirmed that OCM has continued to record massive entries from home and abroad.

“Only recently, a top Kenyan Marathoner, Benard Bosuben, an elite athlete, has been confirmed for the race. His current best time is 1:03:45.’’ Balepo informed.

The race will start from Onitsha Shoprite Mall, pass through DMGS/Zik’s Round about through Oguta Road, through New Cemetery.

And from the MCC Road into the Express to Bridge Head and a U-turn to Zik’s Mausoleum to New Spare Parts Market; a U-turn to terminate at the late Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium, Onitsha.

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