CAPE TOWN – Bringing back the ‘gees’ to Cape Town in the form of a major Sanlam Cape Town Marathon campaign is set to change the face of the Mother City in the next few months.
Africa’s Gold – aka the Cape Town Marathon – celebrated 50 days to go in party-atmosphere style at a city hotel on Wednesday, with a special emphasis on waking a sleeping giant: the stay-at-home would-be crowds in Cape Town.
With 42 special activation points, over 50 charities directly affiliated to the event, musicians and artists aplenty and R350 000 in incentive prizes for energetic spectators, Sunday September 23 is one day in the year not to sleep in.
The New York Marathon attracts two million spectators, lining the streets of Manhattan and beyond to support the runners, while at least a million party-loving supporters turn out each year to watch the London Marathon in April.
The Cape Town Marathon has ticked many of the boxes of world class event criteria, but spectator support has not yet reached the heights of the FIFA World Cup, when 250 000 people marched along the fan-walk ahead of the semi-final match at Cape Town Stadium, proving that Capetonians can match the best when it comes to street parties.
While the glittering line up of some of the world’s leading marathoners in a fierce battle for line honours will likely catch the headlines, the role of spectators in support of the athletes should not be underestimated.
“This is our home, this is our race,” emphasised race director Janet Welham on Wednesday.
“Our spectators are just as important as the runners. Their presence keeps runners going and taking that “one more step” towards the finish line when their bodies are exhausted.
“This year Sanlam has allocated a total of R350 000 to supporters just to show their ‘gees’. Part of that will be for individuals and part to the clubs who best ‘bring the gees’ to the race on the day.”
Among the charities creating a presence at the colourful launch were the SPCA “Top Dogs” Daschund team – aiming to set a Guiness Record for the fastest marathon for six people running in a costumed team, “Love your Nuts” promoting awareness of testicular cancer, the Endurocad Running Academy’s Enduro-hero’s, the JAG foundation’s 1 step 1 child campaign and the Cows/CHOC for childhood cancer awareness.@StephenGranger3