Cape Town – Independent Media was named an official partner of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon at the 50-day countdown to the event on Tuesday.
Jermaine Craig, head of Independent Media’s sports division, says the partnership with the Cape Town Marathon is a strategic move to align the media company with this world-class event.
“Running is the most accessible leisure activity and in Cape Town especially, it brings people together in a way that transcends our diverse cultures as the people of this city. This is what we strive to achieve with our longstanding brands as well – our media platforms are essentially bridge-builders and connectors of people,” said Craig.
“We at Independent Media are looking forward to a strong partnership with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
“As the African continent’s only gold-standard marathon, we support the lofty global objectives of staging an event comparable to the best in the world, amongst the likes of the London, Berlin, New York and Tokyo Marathons.
“Even more so, we at Independent have the strong Cape Town and national footprint to support the event’s growth in South Africa’s strong road running community, and to engage, unite and involve all sectors of the Cape Town community behind this fantastic event.”
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is on track to host the first IAAF Gold Label city marathon in Africa. The 42.2km road race has made huge strides since it was relaunched in 2014, quickly establishing its place as one of only a select few marathons in the world to achieve IAAF Gold Label status.
Thabied Majal, Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Services, said: “We are proud to sponsor the marathon for the fourth consecutive year. The race is Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label marathon.
“Under this prestigious grading, it places this event, the City of Cape Town and our continent on the global stage alongside famous city marathons such as Boston, New York, Tokyo and London – and with it, gives athletes from Africa the opportunity to compete against the best long-distance runners on home soil.”
Last year’s winners, Britain’s Tish Jones and Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu Negewo, have confirmed that they will be back to compete.
Negewo broke the record for the fastest performance for a standard marathon on South African soil in last year’s race.
The route this year has been slightly modified to make it even faster by eliminating several turns, thereby giving both local and international athletes the chance to chase record times.
Pace-makers, introduced last year, will again play an integral role in enabling runners to achieve record-breaking times.
“We have a race for every fitness level, and look forward to record-breaking participation this year,” said race director Janet Welham.
The races for the weekend festival include the 12km and 22km Sanlam Cape Town Peace Trail Runs, the Sanlam Cape Town 10km Peace Run and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (42.2km).
Over 9 000 entries for the marathon have already been received, so runners are encouraged to enter to avoid disappointment as the capacity target is set at 10 000.
The marathon’s IAAF Gold Label status has seen the elite field fill up quickly, as local and international runners clamour to be part of this iconic road race.
To be eligible, elite runners need to have achieved Gold Label times in the 36 months prior to the race date of 17 September 2017.
Standard marathon Gold Label times are 2:10 for men and 2:28 for women.
Joining Asefa Mengstu Negewo and Tish Jones, the elite field also includes top South African athletes Lungile Gongqa (South African Olympian and Two Oceans champion), Agnes Kiprop from Kenya – who has the fastest Gold Label time in the women’s field – and Abrha Milaw Asefa from Ethiopia, currently the fastest in the men’s field with a time of 2:07:46.
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon aims to become one of the biggest fundraising sport events in South Africa, with 50 charities benefiting from the marathon this year.
Elana van Zyl-Meyer, previous Olympic silver medallist and ambassador for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, is part of the exciting “Challenge your Captain” initiative.
“We really want to see all captains of their industries getting involved in the running festival, and also contributing to the various race charities,” says Van Zyl-Meyer.
“Captains” who have already accepted the challenge include former Springbok rugby skipper John Smit, previous Proteas netball captain Zanele Mdodana, ex-Bafana Bafana leader Lucas Radebe and renowned footballer Mark Fish.
The Run4Change legacy programme is an integral part of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
“Leveraging change through the marathon is our biggest dream, and we have put five key aspects in place to see this vision come to life,” said Welham.
“We encourage all participants and spectators to strive towards health and wellness through physical activity and a healthy diet, and to run ‘green’ by off-setting their carbon footprint through purchasing of trees through various charities. Runners can also take a pledge and run for peace.”
Majal added: “As responsible corporate citizens, we are also mindful of the impact that this race has on the environment.
“As sustainability remains a core focus, we strive to ensure that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is one of the world’s most sustainable marathons, and that we carry this responsibility forward to the benefit of generations to come.”
With Table Mountain as the backdrop, the marathon route goes past many historic landmarks.
“The race takes you past the Castle of Good Hope, St George’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and the City Gardens, which are some of Cape Town’s most renowned attractions,” said Welham.
Entries for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are open. To find out more, go to www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com