Getting noticed on the big day is also vital, says Gareth Obery, leader of last year’s “Scrub” team, a group of UCT medical students who ran in their medical scrubs for charity. Photo: Supplied

Cape Town’s beautiful springtime marathon, which for the last three years has retained IAAF Gold Label status, is this year aiming to raise in excess of R3 million for the 50-plus charities associated with it.

This is a 50% increase in charitable earnings from last year’s event, which was awarded Participation Event of the Year at the annual Sports Industry Awards.

“It’s extraordinary what city marathons can do for their local communities,” says race director Janet Welham.

“The London Marathon, one of the world’s top marathon majors, has raised over R18 billion since its founding in 1981, and more specifically R1.176 billion at its 2018 event.

“Another major, the Boston Marathon, raised R520 million at its event last year, about a 7% increase on the year before.”

Relaunched in 2014, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – Africa’s only Gold Label city marathon – has earned considerable interest from a broad range of charities across not only the Western Cape but the country as a whole.

Children, community, education, the environment, health, sports development, wildlife and women are the main charities for which a growing number of runners are raising funds. 

Mariska Oosthuizen, head of brand at Sanlam says: “We are pleased about the positive social impact the race continues to make on Cape Town and the broader South African public.

“Giving back has always been an important aspect of the event. This year we continue to do so and will introduce a new and dynamic campaign inviting runners and fans to show their ‘gees’ to support CANSA, the organisation Sanlam has partnered for more than 27 years to help raise millions of rand for the battle against cancer.

“Cancer affects one out of four people in South Africa. Supporting the cause through the marathon by running for good and cheering for good, is a worthwhile way to tackle a profound societal issue, while simultaneously completing a fairly challenging physical active endeavour for sporting or leisurely fulfilment.”

Commenting on the ease involved with rallying public support for a chosen charity, Welham says: “Social media is the tool to use to generate awareness around your favourite cause or charity that you as a runner are wanting to raise funds for, and the steps involved with linking yourself up to our fundraising platform, GivenGain, which in turn pays the charity once you’ve run the race, is very simple.”

Runners visit the marathon’s page on the GivenGain website, click the “start fundraising” option to register a fundraising project, and provide their Facebook login details or email address.

They can then select any one of the partnered charities listed, provide a video or image to illustrate their page, and make it live. 

“Setting up your fundraising page takes less than a minute, the most important part is to tell why you’re raising funds for the charity you’ve chosen for,” says Marius Maré, CEO of GivenGain.

“And then share, share and share. Think of everyone in your network who might like to support you – family, close friends, colleagues, your running club, social-media followers – and send them the link via WhatsApp, SMS, email, social media or your preferred messaging service.

“The average participant on the GivenGain platform raises about R7 500 from about 15-20 donations in his or her network of family and friends. It might not sound significant at first by imagine 20 000 participants all raising funds!”

Launched in 2001, GivenGain has helped donors, fundraisers and participants in 193 countries support charities in more than 60 countries.

It has a hand in several high-profile South African sporting events, including the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Epic mountain-bike stage race, the 947 Cycle Challenge and the Cape Town Cycle Tour. 

Maré believes the event organisers have to ensure that fundraising is a part of an event’s DNA, much like the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s Run4Change legacy programme.

He believes that at every touchpoint with the runner, fundraising should be promoted, from registration onwards.

And the charities themselves have an equally important role to play, he says. “Use your influencers, ambassadors, donors and anyone you know who participates in active events, and send them to the event’s fundraising page,” he advises.

Getting noticed on the big day is also vital, says Gareth Obery, leader of last year’s “Scrub” team, a group of University of Cape Town medical students who ran in their medical scrubs for charity.

“The more people notice your campaign, the greater the opportunity becomes for better support and ultimately funds,” says Obery, whose team raised over R150 000 for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, with the money specifically allocated to an initiative that funds extra surgery days on weekends in order to tackle a very long waiting list.

This year’s marathon, which takes place on Sunday 15 September, looks set to attract in excess of 26 000 runners, from South Africa, Africa and internationally.

The 42.2km marathon is the pinnacle of a series of running events that start the day before, with the 22km and 12km Peace Trail Runs and a 5km Peace Run.

The Sunday marathon is held alongside a 10km Peace Run for those a little less fearless.

Community support for the marathon grows year on year, with last year’s event featuring 17 water stations manned by over 600 volunteers, 20 bands and DJs performing at the stations, and over 20 charities and 10 athletic clubs involved with the stations.

Charitable value was fused with massive entertainment value as crowds packed four large and 10 smaller spectator zones, while 45 activations took place along the route. 

In closing, Oosthuizen says: “We are excited about this year’s edition of the marathon and look forward to hosting another amazing and fun event for participants and fans alike.

“We encourage participants to register on time and to prepare for whatever distance they are running carefully and safely.”

Cape Town Marathon