Athletics

Cape Town Marathon: The race is on!

Cape Town Marathon (Supplied)
Cape Town Marathon (Supplied)

Cape Town - The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is on track to host the first IAAF gold label city marathon in Africa.

The 42.2km road race has made huge strides since it was relaunched in 2014, quickly establishing its place as one of only a select few marathons in the world to achieve IAAF gold label status.

Last year’s winners, Britain’s Tish Jones and Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu Negewo, have confirmed that they will be back to compete in this world-class running event. Negewo broke the record for the fastest performance for a standard marathon on South African soil in last year’s race.

The route this year has been slightly modified to make it even faster, by eliminating several turns, thereby giving both local and international athletes the chance to chase record times. Pacers, introduced last year, will again play an integral role in enabling runners to achieve record-breaking times.

“We have a race for every fitness level and look forward to record-breaking participation this year,” says Janet Welham (Race Director).

The races for the weekend festival include the 12km and 22km Peace Trail Runs, the 10km Peace Run and the Marathon (42.2km). Over 9 000 entries for the marathon have already been received, so runners are encouraged to enter to avoid disappointment as the capacity target is set at 10 000.

The marathon’s IAAF Gold Label status has seen the elite field fill up quickly, as local and international runners clamour to be part of this iconic road race. To be eligible, elite runners need to have achieved Gold Label times in the 36 months prior to the race date of September 17, 2017. Standard marathon Gold Label times are 2:10 for men and 2:28 for women. Joining Asefa and Tish, the elite field also includes top South African athletes Lungile Gonqa (South African Olympian and Two Oceans champion), Agnes Kiprop from, Kenya who has the fastest Gold label time in the women’s field and Abrha Milaw Asefa from Ethiopia currently the fastest in the men’s field with a time of 2:07:46.

The Cape Town Marathon aims to become one of the biggest fundraising sports events in South Africa, with 50 charities benefiting from the marathon this year.

Elana van Zyl-Meyer, previous Olympic medallist and ambassador for the Cape Town Marathon, is part of the exciting “Challenge your Captain” initiative.

“We really want to see all captains of their industries getting involved in the running festival, and also contributing to the various race charities,” says Van Zyl-Meyer.

“Captains” who have already accepted the challenge include former Springbok rugby captain John Smit, previous Proteas netball captain Zanele Mdodana, ex-Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe, and renowned footballer Mark Fish.

The Run4Change legacy programme is an integral part of the Cape Town marathon.

“Leveraging change through the marathon is our biggest dream, and we have put five key aspects in place to see this vision come to life,” says Welham.

“We encourage all participants and spectators to strive towards health and wellness through physical activity and a healthy diet, and to run ‘green’ by offsetting their carbon footprint through purchasing of trees through various charities. Runners can also take a pledge and run for peace.”

With Table Mountain as the backdrop, the marathon route goes past many historic landmarks.

“The race takes you past the Castle of Good Hope, St George’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and the City Gardens, which are some of Cape Town’s most renowned attractions,” says Welham.

Africa is my home, this is my race. It's Cape Town, must run it!

Entries for the Cape Town Marathon are open. To find out more, visit www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com

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