The half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run have attracted 20 000 participants, marking it as one of Cape Town’s ‘Big Five’ of distance running, alongside the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Town Marathon, the Cape Town Onerun 12km and the SPAR Women’s Challenge.
Run over the traditional circuit from Green Point to Camps Bay and back, the half marathon has boasted high quality fields in recent years with national stars David Manja (NW Province) and Jenna Challenor (KZN) winning the senior title last year.
Challenor returns for the race and starts favourite in the women’s competition, although the 38 year old frequent visitor to the Mother City will have her hands full against 2013 runner-up, Fortunate Chidzivo.
The Zimbabwe-born Cape Town based Chidzivo has a string of local road titles to her credit, but may find it hard work preventing KPMG’s Challenor from recording her third successive win. Leading trail athlete, Stellenbosch medical student, Annamart Laubscher, put in a rare appearance in road competition last year and supplemented her university fees with an impressive third place behind Challenor and Olympian, Tanith Maxwell, and will be looking to dip under 1 hr 20 min and regain a podium position tomorrow.
Back for the umpteenth time at the Gun Run is 2012 winner, Bulelwa Simae. The Nedbank athlete remains a strong competitor and will again challenge for a top five position and the forty year masters’ title.
While the women’s line-up looks stronger than ever, the men’s elite field is less predictable, although a return to competition of leading Cape Town athlete, Lindikhaya Mthangayi after a doping-related absence is of interest.
One of the country’s leading half marathoner’s in the early millennium, Mthangayi took Gun Run line honours in 2005. At 38 years he will want to prove he can return to his best form and tomorrow could be an early test of his fitness.
Another Gun Run perennial, national marathon record holder, Gert Thys, firmly believes he can still beat the best. At 46 years, the 2004 winner and current national marathon holder has been a regular in the Gun Run top five, with his 1:07:21 fourth-placed finish virtually the same time as his 2013 effort for fifth.
Local Nedbank athletes, Vakalisa Kapolo and Gilbert Korir, however, may not be in the mood to offer charity to their older rivals and could find themselves in a battle for line honours, unless the Rustenberg-based athletes put in a late appearance.
NW Province athletes, Manja, Joel Mnone (record holder with a 1:02:31 win in 2015) and Xolisa Tyali have dominated the Gun Run in recent years, but their appearance tomorrow appears doubtful.
The Half Marathon gets underway at 06h30 in Beach Road at the Hotel School with winners expected home at the Hamiltons Rugby Club shortly after 07h30. The 10km race starts at 07h15 with the fun run off at 08h30.