Right from its inception, the Access Bank Lagos State City Marathon has proved to be a race of remarkable feats and many firsts.

In 2015, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon clinched the World Athletics Bronze Label on the heels of its second edition, becoming the third marathon in the world to accomplish this within that time. Two years after this accreditation, the Marathon got awarded the Silver Label — becoming the first ever marathon in the world to attain this after only four editions. Continuing the trend of firsts, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon recently earned the World Athletics Gold Label ahead of the 2023 edition of the Marathon — officially becoming the first full marathon in Africa to achieve this historic feat and the 25th in the world to be awarded the coveted status.

It is worthy to note that the World Athletics Gold Label is awarded to races that satisfy the international body’s requirements in terms of quality of organisation and management and a host of other criteria. 

With its new status came higher expectations for this year’s race, and the organisers and sponsors of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon did not disappoint. On Saturday, February 4, 2023, they delivered a race that rivalled previous editions of the Marathon in reach, impact and magnitude — proving the Marathon is indeed worthy of its new status and is well on its way to clinching the Platinum Label, the highest rating any international marathon can attain.

Amongst its many achievements this year, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon partnered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide a platform for fundraising and awareness for refugees across Africa. Being executed for the first time since the race’s maiden edition in 2016, about 16 refugees from across Africa, including Syria and Congo, participated in the enthralling road race. 

Access Bank PLC teamed up with ParallelPoint Consult to carry out a recyclable waste pickup initiative during the Marathon. This effort resulted in the collection of 10,000 tonnes of waste, which will be transformed into useful and socially beneficial products.

To reinforce its commitment to sustainability during the Marathon, Access Bank PLC collaborated  with The Nigeria Business Coalition Against Aids (NiBUCAA) to launch a massive HIV/AIDS awareness initiative. This included informative sessions to educate people about HIV/AIDS, as well as the distribution of condoms and provision of HIV testing and counseling services to 5,486 participants. This partnership aimed to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and help prevent its spread.

Extending the impact of the competition beyond the participating athletes and sustainability-led projects, the Marathon featured a convert for attendees who came out to be entertained. Opening with soulful renditions by Nigeria’s Afro House queen, Niniola, to sizzling performances by Zlatan and a downright Owambe party with Shina Peters, the entertainment segment reflected Access Bank’s penchant for excellence and outperforming expectations.

Indeed, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is putting Africa on the global map and has gained the attention of the global athletics community. This is evidenced by the august visit of Alessio Punzi, Head of Running and Mass Participation at World Athletics and Norie Williamson, Member of the World Athletics Technical Committee, to observe the race’s organisation and execution in Lagos.

Testament to the Marathon’s growing reputation across the Global Athletics scene and having been impressed by his experience, the headline sponsor’s commitment to growing the race’s scale year-on-year, and as an affirmation that good things do come out of Africa, Punzi confirmed that Lagos will host the World Athletics Global Running Conference in 2024. This will make Nigeria the first-ever African country to be given the honour. The Conference traditionally gathers industry leaders, researchers, marketers, and technical experts from within and outside running to share ideas for the advancement of the sport.

While it is evident that the organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have delivered on all standards set by World Athletics thus far and have cemented the Marathon’s status as the most prominent elite road race in Africa, one may be tempted to ask – What’s next for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon?

In line with this year’s theme, the organisers will continue to push the limit, aim for more and build towards achieving the exclusive Platinum Label status.


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