City rolls out blue carpet for runners

Runners from Cape Town and beyond will take to the streets of Cape Town this Sunday for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.

Mass participation sport is back in the mother city. The City of Cape Town will roll out the welcome mat for the second weekend in a row when the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon returns to the city’s streets and mountain trails on Saturday October 16 and Sunday October 17.

Organisers have confirmed that they are ready to host the country’s first major marathon for 2021, and that they are on track with the final preparations, in accordance with the Covid-19 Risk Mitigation Plan.

“We are excited to welcome over 9 000 marathon runners and 1 000 trail runners,” says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race director, Renee Jordaan.

“We also anticipate over 5 000 local and international participants in our 5km, 10km and 21km Virtual Peace Runs, which runners can still enter for until Friday October 15.”

In the elite camp, Stephen Mokoka is aiming to make it two wins from two starts, while Gerda Steyn is looking for a marathon victory on her marathon debut on South African soil. But the two South Africans will face some stiff competition.

Mokoka can expect serious challenges from the likes of Ethiopia’s Belachew Amato the second fastest in the field behind Mokoka), and Kenya’s Daniel Mututi (runner up in 2019).

Steyn is among impressive company, facing five athletes who have run faster than 2:29. Fastest in the field is Kenya’s Lucy Karimi with her 2:24.24.

Trail snakes will line up at the start of the 46km and 22km Trail Runs on Saturday October 16, while runners from across the globe can participate in the Virtual Peace Runs on the same day.

The marathon will take centre stage on Sunday October 17 along the iconic and scenic race route.

Organising the 2021 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has had its own unique set of challenges in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A comprehensive Risk Mitigation Plan presented to stakeholders at the highest levels has earned race organisers the green light from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, and the City of Cape Town to host the event this year.

Amendments made for the safety and wellness of everybody involved in the event include a reduced marathon field, compulsory antigen tests prior to registration, and a staggered race start with small groups.

“Sadly, this year’s race is required to be a spectator-free event, but we can assure all athletes that our refreshment point crew will add all the energy and vibe they need to power through the course from start to finish,” said Jordaan.