Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to welcome a world-class elite-athlete line-up while public interest in the event gains momentum.
Cape Town, 1 August 2018 – With 50 days to go to Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label-status road race, entries to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are pouring in as runners from South Africa and around the globe prepare for the springtime event. Last year over 20 000 participants from all over the world ran the various courses, with the marathon itself hosting a field of over 10 000 entrants, cementing its position among the continent’s most popular road-running events.
Taking place in Cape town on 23 September this year, the weekend-long festival of running welcomes a 19-member contingent of internationally competitive elite athletes, while charity involvement in the event, which promises top-flight competition and entertainment, begins to heat up.
“International top-flight support for the event grows yearly, and this year we have three Ethiopians, four Kenyans, and one representative each from Australia, the UK, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe running alongside South Africa’s top marathon runners Stephen Mokoka, Desmond Mokgobu, Xolisa Tyali, Lebo Phalula, Nolene Conrad and Lebogang Phalula,” says race ambassador Elana van Zyl-Meyer.
The men’s elite marathon field, in order of personal-best time, includes:
- Stephen Mokoka (South Africa) with a personal best of 2:07:40 in the Shanghai Marathon in China in 2015;
- Albert Korir (Kenya) with a personal best of 2:08:17 in the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan earlier this year;
- Kipsang Kipkemoi (Kenya) with a personal best of 2:08:26 in the Sevilla Marathon in Spain in 2017;
- Fikre Assefa (Ethiopia) with a personal best of 2:08:36 in the Kosice Peace Marathon in Slovakia in 2017;
- Desmond Mokgobu (South Africa) with a personal best of 2:09:31 in the Oita Marathon in Japan earlier this year;
- Robert Chemonges (Uganda) with a personal best of 2:10:32 in the Dusseldorf Marathon in Germany in 2017;
- Rotich Nicholas (Kenya) with a personal best of 2:12:00 in the Vienna City Marathon in Austria in April this year;
- Xolisa Tyali (South Africa) with a personal best of 2:13:19 in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon last year; and
- Kacherian Philemon (Kenya) who is yet to undertake a personal best for a full marathon.
The ladies’ elite marathon field, in order of personal-best time, includes:
- Johannes Helalia (Namibia) with a personal best of 2:26:09 in the London Marathon in 2012;
- Askale Alemayehu (Ethiopia) with a personal best of 2:29:01 in the Shanghai Marathon in China in 2016;
- Tish Jones (Great Britain) with a personal best of 2:33:56 in the London Marathon last year;
- Matana Failuna (Tanzania) with a personal best of 2:34:12 in the Amsterdam Marathon last year;
- Nolene Conrad (South Africa) with a personal best of 2:35:21 in the Valencia Marathon in Spain last year;
- Ellie Pashley (Australia) with a personal best of 2:35:55 in the Berlin Marathon last year;
- Gemechu Ayantu (Ethiopia) with a personal best of 2:41:41 in the Warsaw Marathon this year; and
- Chidzivo Fortunate (Zimbabwe) with a personal best of 2:41:54 in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2016.
“As we attract elite athlete support, so ordinary runners are inspired to achieve more than just taking part for sheer pleasure. There’s a growing interest in running for a cause, using the marathon as an opportunity to shine the light on what participants genuinely care about,” Van Zyl-Meyer says.
Thabied Majal, Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Services, says: “As a diversified financial services company with the largest non-banking financial services footprint on the continent – we believe in the potential of Africa and its people. With the top marathon runners in the world all residing on this continent, it makes sense to give our athletes the opportunity to compete at an IAAF Gold Label marathon on home soil. We are also pleased to renew our support in funding elite athletes allowing them to compete, run their PB’s, and create a legacy that will be an inspiration for generations to come.”
No fewer than 50 charities from across South Africa are affiliated with this year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. Charities, schools and universities including Endurocad, the Jag Foundation, the SPCA, CANSA, the Anna Foundation, The Cows, Eduvate, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust, the Peninsula School Feeding Association and Stellenbosch Alumni are planning several campaigns to rally public support for the marathon’s Run4Change Legacy Programme. A hallmark of the Gold Label-status event, the programme is designed to promote change in health, sustainability, peace and development.
Endurocad, a distance-running and endurance-sports academy that offers a complete suite of services to support and professionally manage world-class distance runners, has launched its “Enduro-Heros” campaign. The objective is to raise funds and awareness, with runners dressing up as their favourite superhero. The goal is to get 1 000 runners to support the campaign. On the route the academy will host community music bands and live entertainment in a supporters’ zone at the 32km mark.
“The organisers of the marathon must be commended for their philanthropic support. There is a huge need out there and it is heartening to see a mix of charitable organisations benefitting from the proceeds of this marathon. Capetonians are urged to line the route in large numbers to cheer on friends and family members and to give international participants a taste of Cape Town’s warmth and friendliness,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
The Jag Foundation, which uses sport as an educational tool to develop life skills in communities affected by gangsterism, drugs and abuse, will offer 100 charity entries in recognition of title sponsor Sanlam’s 100 birthday. Along the route, the Jag Foundation envisages around 400 people congregating at its waterpoint, and celebrating a milestone, for example, having taken 32 000 steps to reach that waterpoint, which is the number of kids the Jag Foundation has engaged with since its inception. The foundation will provide entertainment at its waterpoint, including DJs, hiphop dancers and a high-school brass band.
Stellenbosch University, which celebrates 100 years this year since its inception, is using the marathon as a major catalyst to drive interest in its #Move4Food initiative. Designed to raise R10 million in donations (cash and goods) over a three-year period to create a food bank that addresses food insecurity among students at the university, its challenge is for staff, students, alumni and friends to raise funds for this amazing initiative. And, as a Stellenbosch University alumna, race ambassador Van Zyl-Meyer has challenged the university’s rector, Professor Wim de Villiers, to run the full marathon.
Majal added, “We would encourage everyone to come out and support our athletes on race day. As any long distant athlete will tell you, the ‘gees’ next to the road is what carries them through the long hard kilometres onto the finish line. On Race Day we invite you to join your friends, your neighbours and dress up, cheers and blast vuvuzelas – bring your best dance moves and pump the tunes at any of our supporter zones and stand a chance to win a share of R500k. Follow us on our social media channels to find out more in the coming weeks.”
With spectator support being a crucial component in spurring on the runners, organisers of this year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are encouraging the broader public to support the race on the day by simply making their way to any one of the specially created spectator zones which will feature a mix of live entertainment, food and drink, and together bring the “gees” needed to keep the runners going.
While the marathon itself is the pinnacle of the festival, on Saturday 22 September the two Peace Trail Runs (22km and 12km) take place, as well as a 5km PEACE Run/Walk, with the 10km Peace Run on Sunday.
Africa is my home; this is my race. It’s Cape Town, must run it! To find out more, go to www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com