With just 60 days to go to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, organisers have promised a world-class field and faster course as they target top-flight international status.
The 42.2km race will be held for the second time on 20th September as part of another weekend running festival, which also includes the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, the Sanlam Cape Town 10km PEACE Run, the Sanlam Cape Town Peace Trail Runs (11km & 22km) and the Sanlam Cape Town Community Fun Run, and this year the organisers are targeting IAAF Gold Label status.
Last year, with the race aiming for IAAF Bronze Label status, it became the only marathon on the continent to achieve Silver Label recognition after the first edition of the relaunched event. By improving the quality of the line-up and ensuring everything is in place to help produce faster times, race ambassador Elana Meyer says they are confident of earning IAAF Gold Label Status.
Meyer says they want to stretch the yardstick by modelling the race off major international city marathons around the globe and make it one of the most acclaimed road running events in the world.
"The vision has always been to make this Africa's greatest marathon, and by taking such a big step in our first year, it has motivated us to aim for Gold. Last year we had a superb field, and this year we are looking to bring out another world-class group of elite runners to challenge our top South Africans."
There will be significant changes to the route this year, after certain parts of the race slowed the elite runners last season. By making adjustments, the race's executive committee is confident the new, flatter route will be conducive to fast times.
Meyer said: "By ensuring the invited athletes are among the best in the world, and by making the course more suitable for the elite runners chasing records and the amateur participants aiming for personal bests, we are taking further steps to achieve our goal."
The race is also making strides in other areas. It is one of South Africa's first carbon neutral events, following the purchase of carbon credits traded on a JSE platform, as it paves new ground at the forefront of sustainable running and race organisation in Africa.
Yegs Ramiah, the chief executive of the Sanlam Brand, says she is looking forward to the 2015 event, the second year the race has been under the financial services group’s headline sponsorship.
“In the past our top African runners had to travel the world to compete for gold. Now the competition is coming to us, Africa is our home and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is our race. Sanlam takes pride in creating a unique opportunity for international athletes, in particular African athletes, to compete in an IAAF-Label event right here on African soil and what better place to do so than in the picturesque surroundings of the city of Cape Town.”
Ramiah said that the accessibility and inclusivity of running, which mirrors the group’s approach to wealth creation, made the sponsorship extremely special.
“For the 2014 event, we had runners from 53 countries across the world participating. We believe that this year, we will not only attract even more runners from every corner of the globe, but our charity partner line-up will once again offer an exceptional opportunity for both the running community and supporters alike to really make a tangible difference in the lives of others.”
Sanlam Investments’ Chief Executive for Retail, Carl Roothman, added: “As headline sponsors, Sanlam is fully behind the campaign to go for the IAAF’s Gold Label Status this year. We have truly embraced the fact that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a must run race for all runners. We will have 700 Wealthsmiths™ (Sanlam staff members) running the race this year as well as other Wealthsmiths and clients rooting for all the runners along the route.”
Entries for the race are filling up fast, having nearly passed last year’s actuals with more than 60 days to go. As the success of last year's event fuels interest from the public who aim to #Challengethemselves and #Challengetheirfriends to participate, entries are expected to reach 7 000 for the marathon.
Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development at the City of Cape Town says “The economic spin-offs of large events that attract domestic and international participants hold enormous benefits for the city and its residents. The ripple effects of job creation and the increased visitor spending in the city are a welcome injection into the local economy. As a local government we encourage local runners to participate in this important event on Cape Town’s events calendar.”
Pre-entries for the Marathon, the 10km PEACE RUN, the Trail Runs and the Fun Run close at midnight on 6th September 2015. Late entries will be accepted for the 10km PEACE RUN and Fun Run at the EXPO, however no late entries will be accepted for the Marathon or the Trail Runs.