Just as the runaway fires finally died down on Table Mountain on Friday, much of the competitive fire seems to have gone out of Sunday's Old Mutual Cape Town Marathon in Pinelands.

Last year, in fact for the last four years, this event hosted the national marathon championships, albeit on a different course.

But now that honour has gone to Durban which will host the SA championships, also on Sunday.

And up until a few days ago the women's field for the Cape Town Marathon was shaping up to match, if not better, the championships in terms of top-end quality.

Entered were two-time SA champion Gwen van Lingen and fellow national athlete Theresa du Toit, fourth in her marathon debut at Pinelands last year.

Also in the line-up was Kathleen Shuttleworth, who ran an excellent debut marathon in the Peninsula Marathon last year.

Now none of them will line-up.

Van Lingen had to go to court on Friday in order to overturn a KwaZulu-Natal Athletics decision to exclude her from running as an individual after she had originally not wanted to represent her province as she felt she wasn't fit enough.

On Friday the court ruled it was her constitutional right to run the championships as an individual so she won't travel to Cape Town.

Injuries put paid to the other stars. Du Toit, who has been hugely impressive in training, has an injury under the bridge of her foot.

Shuttleworth suffered a lower back injury recently and although back in training, doesn't want to overdo things by running a marathon.

Both are planning to run Two Oceans next month and have wisely opted to concentrate on training. That leaves the likes of local veterans Renee Scott (last year's winner of the Cape Town Marathon) and Elizabeth McCaul to fight things out.

The men's line-up boasts locals Sam Flathela and Edgar Clark while Port Elizabeth based Alec Riddle brings to town the likes of Bernard Sephaka and Joseph Mothobi.

More than 6 000 athletes will run the four races on offer - apart from the marathon there's a 21.1km, 10km and 5km.

Starting time for the marathon is 5.30am in Forest Drive, Pinelands.