Local contenders and international stars will be chasing record times on Sunday September 18, with organisers unveiling a flatter, faster route for the annual Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
The 42km race has taken huge strides over the last two years, establishing its place as the only IAAF Silver Label marathonin Africa. The new course, starting on Beach Road, promises to add yet another dimension to the weekend running festival, assisting organisers in their aim to bridge the gap on globally renowned races around the world by becoming Africa’s iconic city marathon.
In last year’s race, Kenyan Shadrack Kemboi secured victory in 2:11:41, a little more than two minutes outside the fastest time run on a standard course on South African soil (2:09:50), set by David Tsebe in Port Elizabeth in February 1990.
Former Olympic 5 000m silver medallist Isabella Ochichi of Kenya won last year’s women’s race in 2:30:20, clocking the fastest time in South Africa in 25 years.
Further down the field, former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala broke the South African veteran men’s over-40 record, clocking 2:17:12, and Nancy Will set a new national mark of 3:14:37 in the grandmaster women’s over-60 age group.
Race ambassador Elana Meyer believes the tweaks made to this year’s route will ensure that elite athletes can challenge for records, particularly with pace setters expected to push the field up front.
They will also allow amateur participants to aim for personal bests in the sea-level race. The elite field will be announced 30 days before the race.
“The new course is flatter, which will make it faster, and the times should be quicker throughout the field.
“With another world-class line-up expected to compete this year, there will definitely be a good chance of seeing records broken on the day,” said Meyer.
Carl Roothman, Chief Executive of Sanlam Investments Retail Business, outlined the incentives of breaking marathon records.
“We are proud to be back in our third year of partnership with the marathon, and are ready to pull out all the stops in going for Gold Label status. We have a true understanding of what it takes to reward discipline and dedication, and we have put forward an incentive for the marathon winner who breaks the current record on a standard course in South Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, the build-up to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon weekend, which includes a 10km Peace Run, 12km and 22km trail runs, a 4.2km fun run and the classic 42km marathon, as well as a world-class pre-race expo, will be focused on the key goal of Going for Gold.
Using the promising bid, launched by the organisers to become Africa’s iconic city marathon, the race will host numerous activations and events in the next 60 days.
“Aside from the massive participatory and spectator value the marathon offers, the fundamental premise on which it’s based is to effect meaningful and lasting societal change. It’s a quality that all world-class IAAF events espouse,” said Janet Welham, the marathon’s race director.
The final build-up to the weekend festival will centre around the expo, to be held at The Lookout at the Waterfront, which incorporates race registration. The expo will be open between 10am and 7pm on Friday September 16 and between 9am and 5pm on Saturday September 17.
You can enter online at www.sanlamcapetownmarathon. com