Thousands set to run for peace

2017-04-25 06:01

With a record-breaking event on the cards this year, organisers of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are again aiming to capitalise on the rapid success of one of Africa’s iconic road races, with the race being used as a platform to promote development and peace through sport.

After recently becoming the first 42.2km race on the continent to receive Gold Label recognition from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the annual road running festival joins various other top-flight races around the globe in forming a global unification tool.

Several road races around the world have successfully used road running to promote peace and development through active participation in sport, and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon continues to play a key role as part of an international cause, along with multiple other events including:

. Kosice Peace Marathon, Slovakia

. International Peace Marathon and Half Marathon, Washington DC

. International Peace Marathon of Kigali, Rwanda

. Peace Run torch relay, held in over 100 countries

In South Africa, a number of other codes have also shared similar ideals, unifying people across divides since the country’s readmission to international sport in 1991. In 1995, former President Nelson Mandela capitalised on the country’s passion for sport, utilising the Rugby World Cup as a catalyst to promote peace and unity among all South Africans. Mandela, in his now famous speech at the 2000 Laureus World Sports Awards, said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

In 2003, at the opening of the Cricket World Cup, retired international cricketer and prominent sports administrator Ali Bacher said: “This sports competition is about peace among the peoples of this world. It is about strengthening friendship among the nations and the youth of the world. It seeks to celebrate both individual talent and our achievements through our collective and cooperative efforts as human beings.”

In 2009, the CSV Community Project, which promotes sport as a tool for development and peace, was launched ahead of the Fifa World Cup in partnership with the United Nations. Among the most successful 2010 World Cup legacy projects, it now involves more than 20 000 primary and high school learners from 20 schools.

By delivering the race’s Run4Change Peace message in the build-up to the four-day road running festival in the Mother City in September, and taking a pro-active approach with the Run4Change Legacy Programme, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and its partners remain focussed on driving home the need for peace, friendship, harmony and understanding in all aspects of life.

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