Cape Town Marathon set to be world’s ‘prettiest’ race
MARATHON history in Cape Town is just 50 days away, with the final preparation of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – Africa’s first IAAF Gold Label Standard Marathon – under starter’s orders.
A four-day running festival of races and events starts with the AIMS Africa Conference and the opening day of the marathon expo on September 14, and climaxes with the marathon on Sunday, September 17.
AIMS – the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races – is a memberbased organisation of more than 400 of the world’s leading distance races. The hosting of the regional event in Cape Town, in conjunction with the marathon, reflects its high standing in the eyes of the continent’s leaders in the sport.
“We have set challenging targets for ourselves and we have achieved them all,” said Cape Town Marathon Ambassador and former South African rugby captain, Francois Pienaar. “It just shows you that we can do anything in the city if we want to, together.
“And the marathon is set for even bigger things, including becoming the biggest single day the opportunity to compete against the best on home soil.”
Last year’s winners, Ethiopian Asefa Negewo and British Capetonian, Tish Jones, used their wins at Cape Town to gain invitations as elite athletes to the London Marathon, and will both be focused on retaining their titles in September.
Negewo’s 2hr08min41sec victory set a new race record and is the fastest time on a certified course in South Africa. Frith van der Merwe’s 2:27:36, set in 1989 in Port Elizabeth, remains the fastest in Africa, with Cape Town Marathon record holder, Isabella Ochichi’s 2:30:20 in 6th position.
The decision to change the direction of the course to ensure the IAAF requirement of full street closure during the race has resulted in a course potentially faster than in previous years. “The course has six fewer turns and corners, and showcases the city’s best attractions,” explained race director, Janet Welham.
“There are four small hills in the first half and a long gradual downhill stretch between 17 and 38km, with a final descent to the finish. And we encourage spectators to come out in numbers for what could be the party of a life time,” promised Welham.
2016 WINNER TISH JONES WITH AMBASSADOR ELANA MEYER