(Cape Town, 11 October 2021) – Mass participation sport is back. 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 Mother City’s streets and mountain trails.
The 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 their COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Plan.
“We are excited to welcome over 9,000 marathon runners and 1,000 trail runners this coming weekend,” says Renee Jordaan, Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Race Director.
“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 15 October.”
Mokoka, Steyn face serious challenge
In the elite camp, Stephen Mokaka is aiming to make it two wins from two starts at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, 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 opposition on 17 October.
Mokoka can expect serious challenges from the likes of Ethiopia’s Belachew Amato (2:07.55 – the second fastest in the field behind Mokoka), and Kenya’s Daniel Mututi (runner up in the 2019 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – 2:09.25) and Emmanuel Oliaulo Ngatuny (2:08.22), he will also face stiff opposition from three other Kenyans.
Cosmas Kveva enters the 2021 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon with a best of 2:09.57 (Debno Marathon, 2014) and a pedigree of 11 Marathon wins from 26 starts. Twenty two year old Robert Chemosin is fast making a name for himself in the marathon. Debuting in 2015 with a 2:08.5 (Warszawa Marathon, Poland) Chemosin has run seven marathons, and never placing outside of the top ten.
Aperumoi Joseph Kachapi boasts a best of 2:08.26, run in Amsterdam in 2017 where he finished 10th. His 60:54 half marathon time run in the rarified air of Eldoret (2095m altitude) is indicative of an ability to sustain a fast pace under very trying conditions.
Steyn is amongst impressive company, facing five athletes who have run faster than 2:29 and the competition is at a similar level to her. Fastest in the field is Kenya’s Lucy Karimi with her 2:24.24 (3rd Geneva Marathon, 2021).
2019 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon runner-up, Nurit Shimels is also back, boasting a best of 2:27.40. Namibia’s Beata Naigambo who has represented the county on 11 occasions. She has a best of 2:26.57 to her name. Ayantu Abera Demissa and Beje Bekelu Geleta of Ethiopia complete the line up with bests of 2:29.30 (Padova, 2019) and 2:27.50 (Sevilla, 2020) respectively.
With a field tightly compacted, Steyn will for the first time possibly need to be looking at a tactical race, as opposed to running for time.
Jam-packed race weekend
Race Week will kick off with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Registration and Expo at DHL Cape Town Stadium on 15 and 16 October, where participants will undergo their COVID rapid antigen tests, collect their race packs and indulge in some last-minute pre-race shopping.
Trail snakes will line up at the start of the 46km and 22km Trail Runs on Saturday, 16 October, 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, 17 October, when over 9,000 runners will take to the Mother City’s streets 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,” adds Jordaan.
“We encourage supporters to follow the event on SuperSport 1 or SABC 2, on our Facebook page or website between 06h00 and 09h30 on Sunday morning, and thank the community in advance for supporting our safety adjustments and helping us stage a safe and responsible event”.
Echoing Jordaan’s comments, JP Smith, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security adds: “The City of Cape Town views the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as one of the key events that could go a long way in being a catalyst in the long-term recovery, as well as the sustainability of the events and tourism industries.
“Our City events and disaster risk management officials are working with the organisers to ensure we put together a safe and successful race. We would like to urge lovers of the marathon to help us ensure a safe event by following the broadcast on TV and online.”
Visit www.capetownmarathon.com for more information on Race Week, including Race Day road closures, or to enter the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Virtual Peace Runs.