This year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be under close scrutiny by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as the annual event aims to better its already-strong participant and spectator appeal by applying for the Federation’s new Platinum Label status. The marathon, which takes place on Sunday 15 September, is currently the only IAAF Gold Label-status marathon in Africa.
“When you run in an IAAF Road Race Label event, you get to experience an event run on truly world-class best-practice principles,” says Olympian long-distance runner and race ambassador Elana van Zyl-Meyer. “Not only does an IAAF Road Race Label event offer an excellent runner, spectator and media experience, it also yields great benefits for the development of the sport and helps fight the scourge of doping in sport.”
The new IAAF Platinum Label will be granted from 2020 to races meeting a full set of new requirements and regulations. These range from the inclusion of a quota of international elite athletes, validation of the course, and photo-finish devices, through well-staffed refreshment stations and sound electronic-timing data-processing and results reporting, to sufficient medical services and local and international television-broadcast support.
With international support for the South African springtime festival of running quickly ramping up, organisers of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will this year need to increase marathon entries and further extend its international reach to 12.5% from the 82 countries represented last year.
Nadia Fetta, CEO of Sanlam Pan-Africa: General Insurance, says, “The best marathon runners of the world are from Africa and always had to travel the world to compete against the best. Having a world-class marathon on African soil allows runners from across the world to visit our continent and ultimately have a positive impact on our economy and the people of Africa. As Africa’s biggest insurer, Sanlam believes in the potential of this continent. It’s this belief that drives our pan-African expansion and decision to remain the proud naming-rights sponsor of Africa’s major marathon.”
With the phenomenal natural beauty of the event route being a major drawcard, adherence to green principles and the protection of the route itself are critical. In line with IAAF Road Race Label classification tradition, an aspect of the marathon’s key sustainability drive will be upholding environmental-practice excellence. In 2017 the marathon won the AIMS Green Award and in 2018 it was again certified a climate-neutral event, achieving zero waste to landfill.
The City of Cape Town itself notches up annual global tourism and events awards, and city management is once again placing its full weight and support behind this year’s running event. Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security at the City of Cape Town, says, “Cape Town is the world’s leading festival and events destination, and it’s because of events like the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon that we’ve earned this badge of honour. Every entry into this prestigious race is a contribution to our efforts to grow the local economy through events, and creating job opportunities for locals, and for this, we thank you.”
Notes Van Zyl-Meyer, “Our aim has always been to become a member of the newly formed IAAF Platinum Label-status marathons and there’s little reason to believe that an African city marathon can’t be added to this family of world-class city marathons. Applying for IAAF Platinum Label classification brings us one step closer to that dream.”
Africa is my home, this is my race. It’s Cape Town, must run it!
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