Upholding excellence in all areas, this year’s only African IAAF Gold Label-status city marathon is taking a no-holds-barred approach to whom it secures for the elite marathon runners field. Today marks 50 days until the weekend festival of running kicks off, with the 42.2km main event taking place on Sunday 15 September 2019.
No fewer than 17 IAAF Gold Label elite athletes will be taking part in a field dominated by Ethiopians and Kenyans. South Africa’s elite contingent features two Olympians and a course record-breaker.
“Unquestionably, we’re striving for excellence in this year’s event,” says Elana van Zyl-Meyer, ambassador and Olympian of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. “There are over 30 Gold Label-status marathons around the world, and international demand for elite athletes to take part in these has never been higher, so we’ve worked hard at securing the elite field we have, but it’s also an indication of how well known and popular the marathon has become in international circles.
“Our elite ladies’ field is particularly strong as far as both Gold Label and South African athletes are concerned – we’re looking at personal bests of 2:24 and 2:26 and two-time Olympians added to the mix, so I think we’re in for some pleasant surprises.” Kenya’s Celestine Chepchirchir, with a personal best of 2:24:48, will headline the ladies’ category, while Ethiopia’s Abeda-Tekulu Gebremeskel, who is second on the personal-best roster after placing second at the Sevilla Marathon in January, will run her debut Sanlam Cape Town Marathon this year.
In the men’s line-up, Kenya’s Kipkemoi Kipsang, who came fourth in last year’s event, will return this year, running alongside his countryman, famed 2013 Paris Marathon winner Peter Kimeli Some, with an outstanding personal best of 2:05:38.
This year’s Gold Label men’s elite field in order of personal bests includes
- Peter Kimeli Some (Kenya) with a time of 2:05:38 and winner of the men’s race in the Paris Marathon in 2013
- Tariku Kinfu (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:07:48 at the Sevilla Marathon in 2017
- Edwin Kibet Koech (Kenya) with a time of 2:08:17 at the Eindhoven Marathon in 2015
- Kipkemoi Kipsang (Kenya) with a time of 2:08:26 at the Sevilla Marathon in 2017
- Paul Maina (Kenya) with a time of 2:08:49, second at the Marrakesh Marathon earlier this year
- Samuel Theuri Mwaniki (Kenya) with a time of 2:08:56 at the Marrakesh Marathon in 2015
- Abdi Fufa (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:09:24 at the Shanghai Marathon last year
- Motlokoa Mkhabutlane (Lesotho) with a time of 2:09:47 at the Paris Marathon in 2017
The South African men’s elites are
- Elroy Gelant with a time of 2:12:49 in his debut at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2017
- Lusapho April with a course record-breaking time of 2:08:32 and winner of the Hannover Marathon in 2013, third-place finisher at the 2013 New York City Marathon, 24th finisher at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in the men’s marathon, and 43rd at the 2012 London Summer Olympics
- Melikhaya Frans with a time of 2:15:40 in his debut at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon two years ago
The Gold Label ladies’ elite field includes
- Celestine Chepchirchir (Kenya) with a time of 2:24:48, coming third in the ladies’ category at the Seoul Marathon this year
- Abeda-Tekulu Gebremeskel (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:24:53, taking second place this year at the Sevilla Marathon in the ladies’ category
- Janet Jelagat Rono (Kenya) with a time of 2:26:03 at the Tokyo Marathon in 2014
- Mercy Jerotich Kibarus (Kenya) with a time of 2:26:52 at the Seoul Marathon in 2017
- Milliam Ebongon (Kenya) with a time of 2:27:16 at the Kosice Marathon last year
- Urge Diro Sokoka (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:28:10 at the Sevilla Marathon earlier this year
- Nurit Shimels (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:28:41 at the Marrakesh Marathon last year
- Motu Megersa (Ethiopia) with a time of 2:30:46, taking third spot in the ladies category at the Wuxi Marathon this year
- Beatie Deutsch (Israel) with a time of 2:42:18 and winning lady at the See Genezareth Marathon earlier this year
The South African ladies’ elites are
- Lebo Dinah Phalula with a time of 2:33:48 at the Enschede Marathon in 2016, 63rd finisher at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics
- Lebogang Phalula with a time of 2:38:00 at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in 2016
- Mari Rabie, a triathlete who competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics finishing 43rd in the triathlon event and 11th in the 2016 Rio Summer Olmypics
“We’re thrilled to yet again host an incredible line-up of athletes for this year’s marathon,” says Sydney Mbhele, chief executive: brand at Sanlam. “Our commitment to attracting top local and international runners has seen our horizons expand and set a path to even greater things. The participation of Africa’s best runners along with other stakeholders has enhanced the race experience for everyone, from elite runners to everyday champions.”
And it’s not just about the runners, Mbhele notes. “We’ll continue to deliver our goals through excellence, chief among them being to further enhance the reputation of the marathon and promote it as the platform of choice used by South Africans to raise funds for CANSA to respond to the important issue of cancer awareness. And this is also a terrific family day for the fans – we have lots in store for them too.”
Alderman JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, notes that the City of Cape Town, which has had an ongoing relationship with the Cape Town Marathon for the last 14 years, has extended its support of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon until 2021. “We’re really excited to continue working with the organisers to grow an already excellent brand and make this the premier marathon for the African continent,” he says. “As Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label-status marathon, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon attracts elite runners as well as international enthusiasts to the Mother City, and this helps us maintain our reputation as a leading global festival and event destination.”
Race director Janet Welham says, “Our partners play an important role in helping us uphold a quality experience year after year, so it helps when the city of Cape Town, for instance, wins another international accolade. It just adds to the unique marketability and appeal of the event.” She adds, “Excellence will be apparent in all areas of this year’s event, from both an athlete and a spectator perspective.”
With excellence paving the way to how athletes and spectators will experience this year’s weekend festival of running, the marathon’s jam-packed diary includes
Friday, 13 September:
- Formal arrival and lighting of the Peace Torch at City Hall’s Mandela statue
- Race registration and expo at Century City Conference Centre
Saturday, 14 September:
- Race registration and expo at Century City Conference Centre
- Two Peace Trail Runs (22km and 12km) and 5km Peace Run
- Captains Challenge breakfast with Francois Pienaar
- Afternoon high tea for women in sport and health at Tsogo Sun Cullinan Hotel
Sunday, 15 September:
- 42.2km Marathon
- 10km Peace Run
To enter go to www.capetownmarathon.com
Africa is my home, this is my race. It’s Cape Town, must run it!
#ChallengeYourself; #ChallengeYourFriend; #CaptainsChallenge
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