IAAF and AIMS Grade A measurer, Norrie Williamson, has expressed the belief in Lagos becoming Africa’s marathon and road races hub.
Williamson, who measured the course of many of the world’s biggest marathons, including the marathon course of the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Athens, Sydney and Beijing, said Lagos can build on the advantage of its population and passion for sports.
“Lagos has the advantage of numbers; 25 million people in one city. If you say 10 percent of those people are interested in health and exercise, that is 2.5 million. If you take 10 percent of that as being interested in serious running, club running etc then you have got the numbers to make it happen.”
“Let’s put it into perspective. In the New York Marathon, only 50 per cent of the runners get under five hours. Typically in Africa, virtually every marathon runner aims for less than five hours. Out of that, you would have 10 percent, now you are talking two to three thousand runners who are capable of sub-3 hours,” he said.
Williamson, who has been measuring course since 1985 said the talented runners need to be encouraged and offered the basic training to fulfill their potential.
“There need to be a structure, basic information and then there needs to be the channeling of those with talent to go on. The basic marathon training is this, the faster you are over the short distance, the faster you are over the long distance. For instance, Haile Gabriselassie held the world record at every distance from the 1500m up to the marathon; why because he was faster over the short distance.”