Asefa Mengstu Negewo winning the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, the first marathon to be awarded IAAF Gold Label status, was presented with the 2017 AIMS Green Award for excellence in environmental practice during the fifth annual AIMS Awards Gala in Athens, Greece, last week Friday.

Ambassador and organiser of the marathon Elana van Zyl thanked all the runners who supported the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon #RunGreen campaign, which involved constant communication around initiatives such as “chuck zones” along the route for the disposal of litter.

“During the event waste was reduced by over 25% per runner thanks to an on-site waste-sorting facility. 

"With over 20 000 runners and their supporters descending on an ecologically sensitive environment between the ocean and Table Mountain National Park, we have a great responsibility to take care of the environment.

“The severe drought that has the Western Cape in its grip adds to the significance of the marathon having a positive environmental impact,” said Van Zyl.

Head of Independent Media’s sports business unit Jermaine Craig said: “The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has already achieved the major milestone of being Africa's first IAAF Gold Label standard marathon and has set the ambitious task of emulating the likes of major global marathons such as London, Berlin, Tokyo and New York. 

"It’s a truly world-class event and this accolade for environmental best practice in global sporting events is another significant milestone that sets this special event apart.”

Race director Janet Welham said about three tons of recyclable waste (including paper, glass and various forms of plastic) were collected, while 1.4 tons of non-recyclable solids (including organic waste and disposable water sachets) were sent to the New Horizon Energy Plant for conversion into renewable energy sources such as biomethane and gas.

“We’re particularly proud of this, as a big source of waste is the plastic sachets that have become a challenge for race organisers across South Africa.

“The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a carbon-neutral event, with its carbon footprint (which factors in the transport by air and car of all athletes) offset in 2017 by supporting three South African charities: Wonderbag, Reliance Compost and Basa Magogo. 

"We also purchase carbon credits from the JSE supporting South African-accredited climate-neutral projects,” said Welham.

Western Province Athletics (WPA) president Lester Cameron said, on behalf of Athletics SA (ASA): “We applaud the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon's commitment and encourage all events to align themselves with these standards. 

"This recognition acknowledges that our sport can affect and foster awareness about the environment to promote change.”

Chief executive of brand at Sanlam Yegs Ramiah said: “As Wealthsmiths, we understand the importance of protecting our resources and our responsibility to future generations. 

"We consciously limit our impact on the environment as we go about our day-to-day lives. The efforts made by the Cape Town Marathon team and runners alike in contributing towards these ideals are to be commended.”

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