CAPE TOWN - The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon celebrated the fifth anniversary of the rejuvenated version of the race in fine style at the weekend; with 20 000 participants, a South African champion and two marathon race records in what has generally been acclaimed as its “best-ever”.
Changes to the route were given a rousing acclamation, as the difficult initial stretch through Paarden Eiland last year was replaced with an attractive circuit along the Atlantic Seaboard between Green Point and Sea Point.
And with a new level of IAAF race accreditation in the pipeline, Cape Town Marathon is poised to move to even higher levels as it consolidates its position as Africa’s top marathon.
“We will be sending out notification with criteria of a new platinum-level series of international races,” IAAF’s road running manager, Alessio Punzi, remarked from Europe on Monday.
“We will be inviting applications to be considered for road races in 2020. The platinum-level races will have even stricter criteria and will be aimed at major marketable events with a track record of success.
"The IAAF has no control over the ‘major marathons’ grouping of six marathons around the world, but the platinum-level series will provide a similar exclusivity. Clearly Cape Town has proved itself and this year’s event was even better with two race records being established, so I would assume Cape Town would be a contender.”
Stephen Mokoka, who outwitted and outran his East African rivals to race to a record-breaking 2:08:31 victory on Sunday, will need to be alert if he is to remain on top of his new family “challenge”, when his wife, Zintle, gives birth to their first son within the next days.
The 33-year old recognises that he faces an unknown challenge, but is looking forward to being a father. “It’s something new but I think I’m up for it. I am looking forward to this new phase of life!”
Athletics run deep in the Mokoka household, Zintle being the daughter of the late, great marathoner, Zithulele Sinqe, who held the world half marathon record of 1:00:11, the national marathon record and won the Two Oceans Marathon in 1996 and 1997 and placed second in 1998.
And as impressive as Mokoka’s marathoning has been, he has yet to match his father-in-law, who passed away in 2011. “He ran 2:08:04 in Port Elizabeth in 1986 but I’m 27 seconds slower in winning in 2018!”
Mokoka’s run on Sunday will have eased any fears of the additional financial burden his son will bring. The Johannesburg-based athlete won R265 000 for first position, R100 000 for being first South African, R100 000 for the course record and R15 000 for running faster than 2 hrs 10 min, totalling R480 000.