Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist


Thousands of runners set to get the ball rolling in Cape Town

It was revealed this week that 10 000 people will be allowed to participate in next month's Cape Town Marathon, albeit under strict restrictions.


When it was relaunched in 2014, the Cape Town Marathon faced an uphill battle in an attempt to establish its place as the most popular and prestigious road race in the country. Seven years on, it is fitting that the event will lead the way in the return to mass participation sport. The race has come a long way in less than a decade. Though it was already an established event before 2014, the Cape Town Marathon was rebranded and given a significant financial boost from naming rights sponsor Sanlam. In addition, the hands-on support offered by two of the…

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When it was relaunched in 2014, the Cape Town Marathon faced an uphill battle in an attempt to establish its place as the most popular and prestigious road race in the country.

Seven years on, it is fitting that the event will lead the way in the return to mass participation sport.

The race has come a long way in less than a decade.

Though it was already an established event before 2014, the Cape Town Marathon was rebranded and given a significant financial boost from naming rights sponsor Sanlam.

In addition, the hands-on support offered by two of the country’s most recognisable sport stars – local distance running icon Elana Meyer and Springbok legend Francois Pienaar – and the meticulous approach of the organising team has ensured a recipe for success.

They ticked all the right boxes from the start, boasting world-class elite line-ups while giving local talent an opportunity to compete at international level on home soil.

They also did well to cater for social runners and spectators, providing a chance for people to run a major race on a course which showcases some of the Mother City’s rich cultural history and creating a festival atmosphere around the event.

And while much of the publicity surrounding the race usually revolves around the elite aspect, it is the amateur side of the event which attracted significant attention this week.

Athletics was largely criticised for not doing more to relaunch the sport during lockdown, but the drive to get the Cape Town Marathon back on track now sees the sport leading the charge.

Despite facing significant challenges due to the pandemic, it has been revealed that 10,000 people will be allowed to participate in next month’s race, albeit under strict restrictions.

Already paving the way for South African road running by receiving Gold Label status and bidding to become the seventh marathon around the globe to be included in the World Marathon Majors series, Athletics SA and the Cape Town Marathon organisers have done well to convince government to let them press ahead with an event which is not as big as usual but far larger than anything we’ve seen since March last year.

With the event already setting the pace in domestic road running, this latest step forward for the Cape Town Marathon could open the door for other sports too, and if it goes well, it could trigger a return to action for social athletes and spectators across the board.

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