JOHANNESBURG – Stephen Mokoka beamed as he recalled his record breaking 2018 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon run.
For someone who has raced the world over, the South African marathon champion’s endorsement of the Mother City race spoke volumes of just how brilliant the continent’s only IAAF Gold Label Status race is.
“It’s an awesome race,” Mokoka smiled as he reminisced about his fast 2:08:30 winning time from last year.
“The fact that I did not have to go overseas and have to deal with issues such as jet lag and time differences helped make it an enjoyable run. It was nice to simply fly for two hours, have my own home people cheer me on and call my name.”
Mokoka was speaking at the 2019 launch of the Cape Town Marathon held in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday.
He lauded the organisers for ensuring that the country and the continent has a ‘world class race’ that locals can participate in.
“Not all of us can fly overseas for races and it is good that the organisers even invite some elite runners who do not have (international) statuses. The fact that this marathon provides them with an opportunity to pit themselves against the best from Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco will serve to encourage them.”
Our race ambassador and Olympian, @elanameyer recalling her youth and how her incredible journey in world athletics began. We ❤️ you Elana! #medialaunch #ctmarathon2019 #run4change #citymarathon #marathons #running #iaaf @ElanaAfrika @FedhealthMed @ASICS_ZA @runnersworldza pic.twitter.com/qDfxH7VraM— Cape Town Marathon (@CTMarathon) April 4, 2019
As he recalled his win last year, Mokoka appreciated the fact that the route has very few turns.
“The route is great, less corners and a very long straight to the finish. I could run very fast in the last 21km because it was all straight.”
Race ambassador Elana Van Zyl-Meyer concurred: “It’s route undoubtedly is what’s attracting people, and its low altitude coupled with a flat and fast course offer a record-breaking opportunity for professional and novices alike,” she explained.
The marathon king Mokoka also appreciates the fact that the race gives the social runners a chance to be on the same route as world renowned athletes.
“There is mass participation at the race and that is good because with all the many diseases around, people can be able to prolong their lives through a healthy lifestyle of running.
“I’d be happy to someday see a great field (for Cape Town Marathon) like the one they have in New York where they run all day and runners start in different waves.”
Our first press conference for this year’s springtime marathon has just kicked off, this time in #Sandton at @sanlam. It marks our quest to attract a far greater number of Gauteng runners than ever before! @elanameyer @FedhealthMed @sanlam pic.twitter.com/I4x1poxyor— Cape Town Marathon (@CTMarathon) April 4, 2019
Race Director Janet Welham noted that the route’s beauty “comes alive in its people too”.
“A diverse mix of Cape Town’s people packed the sidewalks and our title sponsor graciously ran a gees competition, offering R500 000 in prizemoney for the best dressed and most entertaining.
“The response we received was phenomenal.”
This year’s edition takes place on September 15, with the trail runs happening the day before.
* Entries for the race have opened and can be found on www.capetownmarathon.com@tshiliboy