ELITE ATHLETES: Sanlam Cape Town Marathon runners chasing the number one spot in the 42km.Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - The 50-day countdown to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was marked in spectacular fashion, with official routes, prize money and special guests announced at a press conference in the city.

During a well-attended event this week, several high-profile figures addressed the media, encouraging all to participate in the event and continue leading healthy lifestyles.

Marathon ambassadors and sporting superstars Elana Meyer and Francois Pienaar spoke passionately of the positive impact city-wide events had on local communities.

Pienaar, drawing comparisons to the recent Fifa World Cup and Winter Olympics, said the marathon had a unique opportunity to galvanise the Cape Town population and inspire positive changes throughout the city.

After partnering with Sanlam in 2014, the Cape Town Marathon now has The City of Cape Town’s full support and can count itself among the elite group of international events which have been awarded IAAF gold status.

After a concerted effort over recent years to increase the number of elite-level athletes participating in the event, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has secured a large contingent of talented runners for this year’s race.

One of the favourites for the men’s race is South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka. With a personal best of 2:07:40, Mokoka turned down lucrative offers from events across the globe to participate in his own country.

Other big names in the male field include Albert Korir and Kipsang Kipkemoi from Kenya, while Namibian Johannes Helalia and Ethiopian Askale Adula will be big contenders in the elite women’s field.

Over September 22 and 23, there will be five races in total: a marathon and peace runs spanning 22km, 12km, 10km and 5km. Many entrants are expected to raise significant funds for local and international charities.

The next step for event organisers is to continue growing the sport until it is recognised internationally as one of the greatest city marathons.

With the event enjoying exponential growth year-on-year, the event’s aspiration of being recognised as one of the World Marathon Majors could easily come to fruition.

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Cape Argus