Glacier by Sanlam CEO Khanyi Nzukuma, Elana van Zyl–Meyer, Desmond Mokgobu, Francois Pienaar, Stephen Mokoka, Nolene Conrad and alderman JP Smith at the 100 days launch of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on Thursday. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - It was a green and gold day at the 100 day launch of the 2018 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon at a city hotel on Thursday, as drought-relieving showers signalled divine approval for Africa’s leading marathon.

The launch was a triple celebration: Cape Town Marathon’s Green Award for environmental excellence conferred by the Association of Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), the retention of the event’s IAAF Gold Status – the only standard marathon in Africa to have earned that distinction, and the sponsor’s 100th birthday.

MORE: The long road to gold for Cape Town’s Nolene Conrad

The AIMS Green Award recognised the significant achievement of the Cape Town Marathon achieving carbon neutral status through offsetting its emissions, the only marathon in the world to have achieved such distinction. This important climate change mitigation action,  as well as achieving zero waste to landfill swayed the judges in Cape Town’s favour in a closely contested competition.

Gold status is conferred on a limited number of global marathons each year and places Cape Town Marathon on the same platform as the great city marathons of the world. Participation of gold-status athletes, a suitable spread of competing countries at elite level and various other technical and media criteria determine the award of status.

Three of South Africa’s four IAAF gold-status athletes attended the launch to confirm their participation in Cape Town this spring, with Gauteng’s Stephen Mokoka and Desmond Mokgobu and Cape Town athlete, Nolene Conrad, aiming for podium finishes and personal best times.

Race ambassadors and sporting super-stars, Francois Pienaar and Elana Van Zyl-Meyer, appealed to Capetonians to line the streets in their thousands along the new route, announced Wednesday, to experience the “gees” of the continent’s best marathon. “It was an incredible experience to run in the world’s big city marathons,” Van Zyl-Meyer remarked. “What made the difference was the ‘gees’ – the support of so many people on the day.”

Race director, Janet Welham, added her voice. “It will be a huge party for spectators and supporters on the day. We will build 15 spectator zones or hubs with mass entertainment, competitions and prizes. And we will be increasing the number of entertainers at activation stations from 24 to 100! It will be a day to remember.”

IOL Sport

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