Australian High Commissioner Takes Part In Obudu Mountain Race

EMMA UNA/CALABAR

Ian Mconville, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, is among the top 100 mountain runners that would battle for prizes in the new race course of the Obudu Mountain Race tagged 4th African Mountain Running Championship taking place Saturday, 17 November.

Mr William Archibong, the president of the Local Organising Committee said Friday at the Obudu Ranch Resort venue for the championship at a pre-championship briefing that the 2012 race would feature top 100 athletes to test run the new race course which “is very difficult and challenging and the winner of this year’s race would be a worthy winner”.

William, who was flanked by the Cross River State commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Patrick Ugbe, and Mr Bruno Guzelino, the President of the World Mountain Race, said the new track consists of 12.3 kilometres for the men and 8.2 kilometres for the women.

“The distance for the men is 12.3 kilometres and this consists of 80 percent of earth road and 20 percent asphalt road while the women would run on 8 kilometres which is split into 60 percent earth road and 20 percent asphalt which is in compliance with the World Mountain Race Championships track requirement,” he said.

The new race course, Mr Archibong said, was designed by a team of WMR from Turkey who were in Obudu for three weeks in July and have been on the mountain since the first week of November for the purpose of perfecting the track.

“They have done a fantastic job and we are pleased to say that we are ready for the World Mountain Race Championships that would take place here in 2014 the first of such in the whole of Africa.”

The WMR team leader which designed the race course, Mr Hasaan Babac, said the new course starts at the cable car station and runs through a bridge, a river and slowly climbs through the mountain to the village before reaching the apex of the mountain which is the finishing point .

The course, he stressed, is very challenging..

“The track is not what it used to be and it is significant for the standard ruuner to train hard before participating,” he added.

On his part, Mr Ugbe said the distance for the Media Race is one kilometre shortened from the usual three kileomtres because of the difficult track. He said athletes for this year’s race are from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, United States, Australia with non from Europe.

Mr Solmon Ogba, the AFN Presidcent is attending the race for the first time since its inception eight years ago.

A total of 280,000 dollars would be carted home by winners