Huge number of youths recently participated in the First Benue-Tito 32km race to the delight of spectators within the Makurdi metropolis.
The event was put together by the Tito Group of Companies, and it drew participants from Benue, Abuja, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba States.
The race began at Titogate, then the runners jet off through major street of Government House Road to Wadata axis, then Wurukum junction and up to the Airforce main gate and back to the starting point with the overall winner concluding his race in less than two hours.
At the end of the race Elizabeth Nuhu, from the Nigerian Custom Service in Abuja emerged winner in the female category.
Nuhu clinched the race in 1hr 56mins beating Shimineger Agbe and Sandra Iorhembe, both of Benue State for second and third positions respectively.
Isaac Matthew, from Kaduna State, won the men’s category of the race in 1hr 41mins, carting away the star prize of N50,000.
Earlier, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who flagged off the race with a promise to partner with the organiser to make it a global competition, said he was delighted to see the passion that people have for running and indeed sport in general.
Ortom, who was represented by the state commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Merga Kachina, noted that it was quite inspiring to see people exhibiting an active lifestyle.
He said that many people would be inspired by what Tito Group of Companies did by encouraging a more sporting and active lifestyle and commended the management of the company for organizing the race.
“We are here flagging-off an event put together by a young man who started plastic recycling in 1988 while doing his NYSC. A man whom N17,000 as capital was enough for him to venture into business.
“This is synonymous to all sport, every athlete prepares through rigorous training. In life, we are all runners.’’
The organizer of the marathon race, Chief Isaac Akinkumi, told news men that he decided to institute the sporting event in order to promote distance race in the state and make youths to take advantage of the natural landscape of Benue.
Akinkumi urged people to engage in sporting activities for their physical and mental development as he appealed to parents to show interest in developing their children not just in academic activities but also in sports so as to get their full potential.
He said that sport was a unifying factor that brings Nigerians together not just soccer. He promised to establish Tito Sports Academy that would develop children between the ages of six and 15 so as to capture sporting talents in the state.
The winner of the men’s category, Isaac Matthew, told newsmen that the weather affected his performance but was grateful to God for winning the race.
“This is my first time to be in Benue, Makurdi precisely. Initially I was told that the race was for 21 kilometres but I ended up running 32 kilometres which took me close to two hours to finish. The course was not easy especially the finishing point. The starting point was okay but the finishing point was heavy because of the sun.