Cape Town Marathon race ambassador Elana Van Zyl in conversation with leading South African distance athlete, Elroy Galant. Photo: Stephen Granger

Cape Town is well on the way to realising its dream of becoming one of the biggest marathons in the world, says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Race Ambassador, Francois Pienaar.

Pienaar was speaking at a City hotel at the fifty-day launch of the City marathon.  “Five years ago our numbers were quite small,” Pienaar admitted. “This year we will have about 30 000 taking part in all the events and in five years’ time that number will have grown to 45 000.  And this year we’re 27% up on numbers for the marathon, which will see 15 000 participants taking part.”

Health and wellness was a major feature of the launch, with Pienaar reflecting on the passing of his “good friend and teammate at the 1995 world cup, James Small” and also Johnny Clegg. “We sang Asimbonanga at the start of last year’s race and as long as I’m connected with the Cape Town Marathon we will sing it every year,” Pienaar reflected, quoting some of the moving words of the song.

Promoting healthy lifestyles and getting Capetonians to leave their couch behind was also a strong call at the launch. “Sitting is the new smoking,” quoted charismatic race doctor, Darren Green. “We must get the message out of the importance to get off your butt and get moving,” emphasised Green. “Hypertension and diabetes are big killers… getting into an exercise regime is important and life-giving. Running is a great place to start.”

Joining the theme of celebrating running and runners, race director, Janet Welham announced the intention to launch a Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Wall of Fame. “We want to recognise those runners who have completed multiple Cape Town Marathons, dating back from 2007, as well as clubs who have the most runners competing.  We intend to construct an actual wall at an iconic place in the City, which could become a meeting point for runners in the City.”

IOL Sport