Spectator zones have been set up along the Cape Town Marathon route, giving supporters frontline views of the course action as well as an opportunity to enjoy live music and dance.

CAPE TOWN – Get ready to rock and roll with Cape Town’s biggest street party next Sunday morning with the running of the Mother City’s greatest footrace.

Next week’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s numbers are impressive, with participants, prize money, records and operational logistics growing in similar vein to the runners moving towards the finish line - in leaps and bounds.

However, while the race compares favourably in many respects with the world’s biggest and best city marathons, one aspect where the Cape Town Marathon has been in catch-up mode is that of spectator support. But that is set to change.

Cape Town is known for its strong support for sporting events, but has yet to replicate the spectator numbers of the Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal or the New York City Marathon, where an estimated three million lined the streets of last year’s race.

This year, however, with more than 26 000 local and international runners taking part in Africa’s “must-run” city marathon, Cape Town’s Sunday morning street party is anticipated to match the “gees” of the running participants. There is every incentive for Capetonians to forego their usual Sunday morning sleep-in and join the fun and games alongside the marathon route.

“A marathon is a long personal journey,” reflected South African legend, Elana van Zyl-Meyer, ambassador for the marathon. “But there’s nothing more energising and comforting as a marathon runner than a group of supporters cheering you on from the sidelines - it’s pure joy. Typically of big-city marathons around the world, supporters dress up in crazy outfits to spur on family members or friends who’re running. Catching attention is the aim, and it works!”

This year the organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sidelines magic. Spectator zones have been set up along the 42.2km marathon route, giving supporters frontline views of the course action as well as an opportunity to enjoy live music and dance.

This year Sanlam has upped the prize values of its highly popular Gees Competition, and with a chance to win a share of R250 000, individual supporters, club members and charities will be scrambling to download official fan bibs from the marathon page on Sanlam’s website to wear on race day with their imaginative costumes.

Simply posting an on-route selfie on social media using #SCTMgees and tagging @ctmarathon could land the supporter the money.

The first zone is located at Sea Point Swimming Pool (4km mark), the second at City Hall (13.8km) with zones located every kilometre or two in the second half of the race from Rondebosch Main Road (20.8km) to the finish in Vlei Road in Green Point.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is aiming to raise R3 million at its springtime event later this year. Pic: Supplied

Strongly linked to the spectator gees contest is the ever-increasing support for charities. The London Marathon remains the biggest single-day fundraiser in the world, with this year’s race contributing over R1billion to charities.

Next Sunday over 50 charities will be represented at the Cape Town Marathon, with many runners dressed to support their cause, from the five-runner sausage-dog suit supporting the Cape of Good Hope SPCA to a host of superheroes promoting sports academy Endurocad.

Stephen Granger