Cape Town - Launched as a two-day 'festival of running' from Saturday, September 20 to Sunday, September 21, 2014, with the main attraction - a 42.2km classic city marathon - on the final day, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has achieved significant planning targets in the build-up to its 60-day countdown.
Towards its five-year vision of becoming an internationally accredited marathon, an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) delegation will be in attendance to assess its eligibility for classification as a Bronze Label event.
“We offer the highest purse for a South African standard marathon, with total prize money exceeding R1.6 million, a requirement for IAAF Label accreditation,” says event ambassador Elana Meyer, South Africa’s Olympic medallist and repeat record holder in long-distance running. She adds, “This is largely due to the vested interest of the financial services group, Sanlam, which has enabled us to confirm this offer through a naming-rights sponsorship announced early July,” adds Meyer.
Yegs Ramiah, Chief Executive: Sanlam Brand, says that “Sanlam is pleased to sponsor an event that we hope will put Cape Town and our continent on the global stage alongside famous marathon cities such as Boston, New York, Tokyo and London.
“What resonates with us as a company that has a long and rich history of empowerment and giving are the charitable aspects of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. We believe the Marathon will have a positive impact on Sanlam as a global brand and we take pride in creating an opportunity for international athletes to compete in a global event on the continent, in particular African athletes. That for us is the mutual benefit.”
Several requirements are in place for IAAF Label accreditation, among them a legacy of carrying social investment along with an enviable line-up of participating elite international athletes. Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has through its lead charity partner, “Peace and Sport, L‘Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport”, confirmed the attendance and participation as a Champion for Peace of Wilson Kipketer, an Olympic silver medallist and three-time world champion over 800 metres. He will be taking part in the Sanlam Cape Town 10km Peace Run.
Peace and Sport is a politically neutral international organisation that uses sport as a development vehicle in crisis communities around the world. It was founded in 2007 under the patronage of H. S. H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and is highly regarded and supported by governments, as well as international sport governing bodies, organisations, major private companies and sports champions the world over. Its founder and president is Joel Bouzou, an Olympic medallist and world champion in the modern pentathlon and president of the World Olympians Association.
“Along with Kipketer, our very own Elana Meyer has been made a ‘Champion of Peace’ for Peace and Sport, joining another 78 athletes from around the world,” says fellow marathon ambassador and Rugby World Cup 1995 winning captain Francois Pienaar. This means that under a partnership agreement with Peace and Sport, funds raised by competing runners will be split 50/ 50 between Peace and Sport’s field programmes in Africa and the South Africa-based organisation, Western Cape Network for Community Peace and Development.
The marathon takes place on the International Day of Peace, September 21, allowing Peace and Sport to take part in a symbolic celebration in former South African president Nelson Mandela’s homeland of peace.
Along with Peace and Sport, the marathon’s second charitable partner is Endurocad (South African Endurance Academy), a non-profit organisation that gives promising young South African athletes the opportunity to train for and participate in long-distance endurance running.
“Supporting Kipketer’s role is our confirmed line-up of international athletes. We are proud to announce the participation of the esteemed: Ethiopian long-distance runner Goitom Teseme, Kenyan Willy Kibor Koitile and fellow countryman Josphat Kamzee Jepkopol,” says Meyer.
Teseme won the 2013 Warsaw Marathon (Poland), 2013 Guangzhou Marathon (China), 2011 Gold Coast Marathon (Australia), 2010 La Rochelle Marathon (France) and the Kuala Lumpur Marathon (Malaysia). Her personal best is 2:26:21 at Rome (Italy) 2011. Kibor was crowned champion of the 2010 Shanghai Marathon (China) and 2013 Sydney Marathon (Australia), achieving a personal best of 2:08:32 at Wien (Austria) in 2012, an IAAF Gold Label event. Meanwhile, Kamzee won the 2012 and 2013 Taipei Marathon (Taiwan), with a personal best of 2:08:44 at the Berlin Marathon (Germany) in 2012, also an IAAF Gold Label event.
Comments Meyer, “Not only does this solidify our ability to provide a world-class African experience for elite international marathon runners, but it also sets the precedent for South African marathon runners to compete in an elite field - something not yet available in the country.” This year’s race is seen as the country’s national championship event for marathon runners, setting several benchmarks seen nowhere else in the country.