Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s commitment to chasing Major Status

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Run, Events & Racing, Running Event News, Running Racing News

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is racing towards Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Majors. As the second-year of evaluation progresses, and the countdown to race day reaches an official 80-days; the race organisers presented a comprehensive update on their accomplishments and pledges for 2023’ start line. Read all about what it would mean for running in South Africa if the race became a Major, here.

Eventing holds immense responsibility, while being considered for an AWMM candidacy brings profound privilege. Yet, both must be respected and not exploited. Clark Gardner, Group CEO of Faces, stresses the consequences of poorly managed events, including sponsor loss, reduced elite participation, decreased spectator interest, and lower participation numbers. He emphasises the need for continuous improvement and investment to remain globally competitive.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

The presentation of Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s supporting partners reaffirmed the truth that well-managed events are rewarded with strong sponsorships. This commitment to greatness is “further exemplified by Sanlam Investment, founding sponsor and African Champions in their own right, as Sanlam have agreed to renew their title sponsorship for another three years,” shared Gardner.

Investing in SA’s future with Good Hope Seminary School
Together with Sanlam Investments, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has initiated support and sponsorship for Good Hope Seminary Junior School, with the hope of extending the outreach program to many more schools in the future. Through investments in teachers, facilities, equipment, and food gardens, Gardner said the “aim is to engage with future runners while simultaneously contributing to the betterment of South Africa’s future.”

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon remains steadfast in its mission to deliver an exceptional event and experience for all involved, and therefore present the amended and advanced 2023 marathon route.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race route will see the following adjustments:
The 2km climb with 90 m of elevation by District 6 has been substituted with 2 flat kms at the start of the marathon through Granger Bay. This reduced elevation should allow for an approximated 2-minute faster pace for the male elites and 2m30s for the women – this adjustment is more exaggerated for the wheelchair racers.
Not only does the route improvement speak to elites, but benefits the ‘everyday participant,’ who is chasing PBs.

The elite prize money has consequently been doubled with the introduction of a faster route and organisers are confident that both female and male records will tumble. In addition, the increase in budget is intended to attract the best available athletes. The achievement of faster times by exceptional athletes plays a pivotal role in elevating the event’s prestige, setting the stage for Major status.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon
Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

Levelling the playing fields / 1,000 Free Entries becomes 2,000 for Sanlam Cape Town Marathon
Amid challenging economic conditions, with high-interest rates and elevated unemployment, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon offered 1000 complimentary entries for this year’s marathon. “The only requirement for those seeking free entry was to demonstrate their financial inability to afford the participation fee and provide a motivation explaining the reasons behind their circumstances,” said Gardner. The response and motivations received far exceeded expectations.

Upon sharing this overwhelming response with the event’s title sponsor, Sanlam generously offered to pay for additional 1000 free entries. Consequently, 2000 participants were granted the opportunity to take part in this year’s marathon without registration fees. Sanlam’s provision of additional free entries exemplifies the company’s commitment to its mission statement. Karl Socikwa, Group Executive at Sanlam, emphasised that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon embodies inclusivity, uniting African champions, and welcoming participants from diverse backgrounds to share in the exhilaration of crossing the finish line.

Participating in a panel discussion with Socikwa, Hendrick Ramaala – an African Champion and one of the few South Africans to achieve victory in a Major – corroborated that the world’s best come from Africa, and so the Major should return to its roots. The resultant pride of competing in one’s own country, on home soil, supported by fellow Africans on the sideline would be immense. Along with the opportunity to compete against the top ranked elites, a Major in Africa would attract increased prize money and the support of further world-class sponsors.

Towards AWMM nomination for Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in adidas speed and style.
adidas, a renowned global leader in the sports industry and the current sponsor of two prestigious AWMMs – Berlin and Boston – stands testament to Sanlam Cape Town Marathon‘s dedication of partnering with top-tier brands in their pursuit of excellence.

Kate Woods, Senior Brand Director of adidas, expressed the shared vision, “to bring Africa her first major.” Enthusiastic about this remarkable opportunity, Woods made two commitments on behalf of adidas to make the dream of achieving Major status a reality for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. The first assurance is to assemble an impressive elite field, with 60% of this year’s elites being adidas athletes, that matches the fast route and promise of records in both the men’s and women’s race.

However, adidas recognizes that success doesn’t solely rely on elite athletes and podium finishes. To promote a broader impact, Woods introduced adidas’ ‘Run for Africa’ campaign; encouraging runners from across the continent to come together to reach AWMM’s criteria of 15,000 finishers. As an incentive, runners who start, run, and complete the race wearing adidas shoes will receive a R2,000 voucher at the finish.

Driven by belief in the transformative power of sports, adidas remains steadfast in their partnership with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, aiming for AWMM status in 2025.

Keeping the Momentum. Bringing Back Track Thursday and Saturday Long Runs
Gardner said that Cape Town Marathon will continue to invest in, and build on the safe and effective training initiatives introduced in 2022, bringing back Track Thursdays and Saturday Long Runs. These training activities elevated the typical “club run,” bolstered by support from dedicated sponsors; “Virgin Active trainers on the warm-ups and cool-downs, Penbev’s Powerade hydration, and adidas shoe try-ons.”

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