About 20 000 people from around the world participated in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon with South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka coming in first place and setting a new race record for the 42.2km event. Photo: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town's environment proved one of the biggest winners at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon at the weekend, with the use of single-use plastics significantly reduced and no municipal water used.

Water dispensed from Bluewater Africa’s mobile water stations saved the use of plastics equivalent to that of 13 000 water sachets or 2600 standard water bottles.

The marathon attracted about 20 000 participants and has previously been recognised for its sustainability efforts with the 2017 Association of International Marathons and Distance Races Green Award. 

It was preceded by the Cape Times Breakfast with a talk by former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar on Saturday.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race director Janet Welham said: “We are super excited. From Cape Town Marathon’s perspective, one of our pillars for sustainability is to find an alternative to plastics.

“We eliminated plastics in the trail runs with no water sachets being used and, for the marathon, we had two stations on the route for runners to fill their bottles and hydration packs, and two were positioned at the finish venue.”

Bluewater Africa executive director and I-Drop Water co-founder James Steere said the mobile water stations supplied purified non-municipal water that was chilled and dispensed to athletes who brought their own multiple-use water containers.

“This is an amazing event to be associated with as it ties in so beautifully with our purpose as Bluewater.”

This was the first large-scale sports event in South Africa to provide Bluewater Trailers for their athletes, Steere said.

“We have produced a solution to a problem and what is needed now is a mindset shift in athletes to carry their own water bottles or hydration packs. We look forward to wide adoption as we roll out this solution to events across the country.”