Excitement, surprises to herald FNB Accra Marathon
New champions are expected to emerge today as some of Ghana's finest long-distance runners storm the national capital for the First National Bank (FNB) Accra Marathon, marking a glorious comeback for one of Ghana's premier long-distance events.
Organised by the Dansoman Keep Fit Club and sponsored by First National Bank (FNB), the marathon holds a distinguished place on the national sporting calendar, promising a resurgence of the excitement and unpredictability that has defined it over the years. Its return has expectedly sent ripples of excitement through the hearts of athletes and fans alike.
The return of this marathon not only signifies a revival of a cherished sporting tradition but also heralds the dawn of a new era in Ghanaian long-distance running.
Until it took a six-year break, the Accra Marathon captivated the imaginations of marathoners in Ghana and beyond. Over its storied history, the race has witnessed the rise of champions, the fall of favourites, and the birth of legends who conquered the challenging 42.2km route with strategic prowess and unyielding stamina.
From the unexpected victories of Godwin Adukpo, Anthony Yin, and David Zigah to Nigeria’s Hagack Gideon's triumph in 1994 and Kenyan Alex Kimeli’s stellar performance in 2012, the Accra Marathon has been a theatre of surprises and drama. Over three decades, iconic athletes such as Alfred Amegashie, Fred Adongo, Emmanuel Amo, Stephen Manu, Alhaji Alhassan, Richard Nifa, Adukpo, Zigah, Yin, Gladys Adoma, Esinam Torgbadza and Millicent Boadi became symbols of success in the long-distance running community, as some represented Ghana on the international stage.
The marathon, at its zenith, drew not only elite runners but also political luminaries, including presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Evans Atta Mills, who had the honour of commencing the race. Now, with its resurgence, the FNB Accra Marathon is poised to set new records, anoint fresh heroes and unfold incredible comeback stories.
Now, with the revival of the FNB Accra Marathon, anticipation is high for new records, emerging heroes and the breath-taking comeback stories that have defined this prestigious event.
While legendary figures such as Amegashie, Alhassan and Adongo may not grace the competition this time, a new generation of long-distance greats has risen since the last marathon. Today, they compete not only for glory but also for a share of the substantial cash prizes at stake, with GH¢20,000 awaiting the male and female winners. Moreover, the ultimate winner will secure a GH¢60,000 registration to participate in an international marathon event, elevating the stakes to unprecedented levels.
Modification or route
The spotlight today will be on the 42.4km race, winding through the bustling streets of Accra, with the original route modified due to ongoing road construction in the capital. However, equal excitement and drama await in the five-kilometre student race and the 10-kilometre corporate event, as past competitions have witnessed frontrunners overtaken near the finish point at Dansoman First Stop and Zodiac Pharmacy junction, adding an extra layer of unpredictability to the event.
The starting pistol will echo on Nautical Street at Nungua, unleashing around 5,000 runners onto the Nungua-Teshie road. The route encompasses iconic landmarks such as the La Trade Fair junction, 37 Military Hospital, John Evans Atta Mills Highway, Cadbury Ghana Limited, General Post Office, Makola, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Obetsebi Lamptey Interchange, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Mamprobi Post Office, Kaneshie First Light weaving through the city's heart before culminating at the Dansoman Keep Fit Club grounds.
Predicting winners today looks tricky. However, a heightened competition is expected among the Security Services, including the Customs Division of GRA, Fire Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Prisons Service, and Police Service, which having historically employed many of the country's leading marathoners, are anticipated to engage in a fierce battle for supremacy.
Looking ahead, the FNB Accra Marathon is poised to be a crucial conveyor belt for talented long-distance runners over the next five years, catalysing the revival of the Security Services Sports Association Games in the coming years. The event not only provides a platform for emerging talents from different regions but also fosters a competitive spirit that propels athletes from junior races to the pinnacle of the 42.2km mass event.
The event has been a platform for emerging talents from different regions to compete for recognition and honours, and today's 10km event promises a similar level of competitiveness, despite potential limitations in regional representation outside the Greater Accra Region due to the current school academic calendar.
Over the years, the event provided a platform for emerging talents from the different regions of Ghana to compete for recognition and honours in the junior race. Many of these student-athletes developed and transitioned well into the 42.2km mass event as they crossed the age barrier. A similar level of competitiveness is expected today in the 10km event, even though the current school academic calendar may not permit a very strong regional representation from outside the Greater Accra Region.