Second edition of the Ile Ife Heritage Marathon (IHM) is scheduled for Sunday the 3th of February 2019 in Ile Ife, Nigeria


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Ife, as the town is often called, is an ancient Yoruba town in south-western Nigeria and located about 218 kilometers northeast of Lagos. The town is said to be the oldest Yoruba town and dates back to around 500 B.C. 

Ife is the town where the Yorubas believe their civilization began as well as the location where the gods descended to earth. The name, Ile Ife, literally means place of dispersion. According to Yoruba tradition, Ife was founded by the deities Oduduwa and Obatala when they created the world. Obatala fashioned the first humans out of clay while Oduduwa became the first divine king of the Yoruba people. - See more at:

The IHM was born out of a desire to showcase to the world, the rich cultural heritage of the Yorubas.

The Yorubas are an ethnic group of southwestern and North-central Nigeria as well as southern and central Republic of Benin, together known as Yorubaland. According to CIA World factbook, they constitute over 40 million people in total and the majority of this population is from Nigeria. 

The course of this marathon has therefore been deliberately designed to read like a must-see list of Ife's most alluring attractions!

Ditch your travel guide and let your fellow runners be your town  guides.

Runners will set out  for the 42.195km tour of Ancient Ife from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), and end at a Royal Medal Reception in the Palace of the King of Ile Ife who is traditionally called the Ooni.

The Ooni stool is highly revered and exalted so it will be a unique experience to receive finisher's medals in the palace grounds that hold so much history and cultural importance!

Below are a few of the highlights to look out for on the course :

 1.  Some of the most iconic buildings in the Obafemi Awolowo University, which was established in 1962 and boasts of vast grounds, beautifully sculptured landscapes with scenic views of lush African green vegetation and flowers, which exude tropical scents. The thunderous cheers from the students should get you going at a good pace.

Start Area

Run up and down the steps as a form of warm up 

The University Campus Greens

The popular Road One

Students who do not meet up academically are shown "Road One" meaning they are on the way out of school

 2. Participants would be ready for a glimpse of the Ancient city of Ile Ife after completing 10km within the University Campus

The University Campus gate through which runners will exit to town

 3. The Ife Bronze Head Statue known as Ori Olokun. The original , which was purportedly ‘discovered’ by the famous German archaeologist Leo Frobenius in 1910, sits in the Royal British Museum.

The Ori Olokun Statue ushers runners into Ife town

 4.  'Opa Oranmiyan' on Ife - Ondo Road. Oba Oranmiyan was a king in the ancient Yoruba kingdom and his family is fabled to have erected the commemorative stele known as the Staff of Oranmiyan - Opa Oranmiyan in the Yoruba language - at the place where their father died. The Yorubas have turned the spot into a shrine.

Opa Oranmiyan

 5. The 42ft giant statue of Moremi, the beautiful wife of King Oranmiyan, who liberated the people of Ile Ife from Slave invaders in the 12th century is halfway through the course. The statue stands where Moremi lived. Cultural dances to loud traditional African beats are expected here. Runners in pursuit of setting Personal Best records will have to dig deep to keep running and not stop to join the African dancers.

The tallest statue in Nigeria and the third tallest in Africa

 6. The bust of Obafemi Awolowo, the Yoruba sage after which the Obafemi Awolowo University was named.

 7. Iledi Ooni Ile Ogboni, where the group of traditional Ogbonis meet and work with the Ooni offering wise counsels from the traditional point of view. The group used to serve as the Supreme Court in the old days before modernity brought democracy.

Runners will pass by the Iledi Ooni Ogboni in Ile, and will see the Hausa Community on their way back to experience more of the OAU.

The second sojourn on campus will have participants running by some of the Faculty Buildings before heading out of campus again towards the Palace via the Ile Ife Museum.

A grand welcome; a Finishers Medal; a Finishers Patch and a Finishers T- Shirt awaits every runner at the King's Palace.

Stretch leading to the Palace

This is a good place to give that final push and sprint to the Palace Grounds for a warm welcome and reception 

The organizers of the Ile-Ife Heritage Marathon will be responsible for arranging transportation from Lagos (airport) to Ile Ife and back. We will also organize getting runners who want to participate in the other races to Lome to join the Lome team.

See you all on the 4th of February, 2018!


Adedayo Akinbode