Runners whose half marathon dreams have been dashed by the global COVID-19 pandemic can lace up and start training again. Following the launch of the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon in May, the event organisers have announced the exciting addition of a Virtual Half Marathon.
The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, 18 October 2020, and offers current and prospective half marathon runners across the globe an actual target to train for.
“This year has already seen the cancellation of the most iconic 21.1km races on the race calendar, and when we launched the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon events in May, we received countless requests to add a virtual half to the mix,” says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Chairman, Francois Pienaar.
“Having the advanced technology to host the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon makes it easy to add a virtual half marathon to our virtual events offering, and we are excited that this will make the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race experience accessible to an even greater number of runners.”
The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Half Marathon will be powered through the unique Virtual Marathon App, an integrated digital platform that is currently being developed. The result will be an immersive experience for local and international athletes whose individual races will be tracked and displayed in real time, coupled with their virtual progress on the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route. And as the race will be run in athletes’ local time zone, participants will be able to challenge their mates elsewhere in the world while they wait for their own race to start.
Headline sponsor Sanlam is thrilled that the addition of a virtual half marathon will open the race up to a wider audience of running enthusiasts. “In these extraordinary times it is important that people continue to be given the opportunity and ongoing support to achieve their goals – whether personal or financial – and the addition of a virtual half marathon to the current Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon race offering does just that,” says Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Brand at Sanlam.
“We are so proud to celebrate our 6th year of sponsorship with an event that continues to raise the bar while keeping the best interests of the athletes they serve at the heart of everything they do.”
“Our philosophy for the race in 2020 is ‘Run for Something’, and we have already pledged that the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) will continue to benefit from the race this year – irrespective of the form it takes,” adds Mbhele. “We therefore encourage participants to add a sense of meaning to their 2020 race – whether it is to beat their personal record, celebrate their training journey during a challenging lockdown, or to raise money for those who need it most.”
Changing the face virtual racing as we know it
As virtual races continue to dominate the running scene in 2020, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race organisers will attempt what no race has done before: to create an alternative race experience that will transport runners to the iconic city marathon route – in their heads at least.
“Imagine enjoying the full Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race experience via the Virtual Marathon App – from the start line ceremony and the lighting of the Peace Torch, to running to the promenade sounds of seagulls and crashing ocean waves, cheering crowds and singing Cape Minstrels,” adds Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Race Director, Renée Jordaan.
“All this – and more – will now be possible through our virtual races which you can run in your hometown, local park or anywhere your COVID-19 social distancing rules allow, while your progress is being tracked.”
“Extraordinary times require an extraordinary race, The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon aims to change the face of virtual racing as we know it. Powered by cutting-edge technology and advanced features, this is the kind of race that one can usually only dream of, and we will make it a dream come true on 18 October.”
The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon and Virtual Half Marathon, as well as the 10km and 5km Virtual Peace Runs, will take place on 18 October, and participants can start between 6am and 10am, no matter where they are in the world.
Entries are open at Webtickets. And while it is still too early to predict whether the race will take place in its original format, the organisers have confirmed that all 2020 entrants will receive a full refund if they are required to cancel the event.
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was recently awarded the prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Status for the fourth consecutive year – the only marathon on the African continent and one of only a select group of marathons in the world to have this status. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to sweep across the globe, and the postponement of the Olympic Games, all Gold Label Status races will retain their status for 2020 and 2021.