Cape Town Marathon set to be world’s ‘pret­ti­est’ race

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STEPHEN GRANGER fund raiser in South Africa, with many char­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ties ben­e­fit­ing.” The City of Cape Town’s May­oral Com­mit­tee Mem­ber for Safety and Se­cu­rity and So­cial Ser­vices, Al­der­man JP Smith was en­thu­si­as­tic about the eco­nomic re­turns of t

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

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