Virtual marathon to take place in three cities

Runners face ghosts, different conditions Cape Town marathon

Athletes face a mammoth task at the Two Ceans 42.2km marathon
Athletes face a mammoth task at the Two Ceans 42.2km marathon
Image: Gallo Images

Some runners call the Sanlam Cape Town virtual Marathon a ghost marathon. That is because they won’t be able to see who they are running against on the day of the race.

They will also experience different weather conditions on race day. The invited elite runners will compete against each other in different parts of the country.

The eagerly awaited 42.2km marathon will take place in three cities: Potchefstroom, Pretoria and Cape Town.

The starter’s gun will go off at 6.30am on Sunday. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon will follow an undisclosed route to comply with the national crowd control regulations, and the race will be broadcast live on SABC from 6.15am.

Those who are not keen to do the full marathon can run the 21.1km, 10km or 5km fun run.

“You’re running against ghosts. You’ll be running against people that you can’t see and maybe faced with difficult weather conditions on the day,” said prominent marathoner Elroy Gelant.

The 34-year-old Potchefstroom-based runner pulled out of the race due to a knee injury that he sustained during the London Marathon three weeks ago.

Stephen Mokoka, the  Cape Town marathon record holder with a time of 2:08.31, also withdrew from the race. But the Nelson Mandela Remembrance half-marathon champion, Collen Mulaudzi, will run his first Cape Town Marathon at the weekend.

Gelant said the runners who will be taking part in this historic event at the weekend must go out there and enjoy it. For most runners, the Cape Town Marathon has offered them motivation for training in a year when races elsewhere were cancelled because of the pandemic.

Other runners are used to running with pace setters but in the virtual marathon they must learn how to pace themselves. There will also be no crowd to cheer on the runners  on the side of the road. But the excitement is that they are venturing into the unknown and that is an experience they won’t forget in their running careers.

Multi Olympic gold medallist and middle-distance sensation Mo Farah is the ambassador of this prestigious marathon. When unveiled at a virtual press conference a few weeks ago, the British star showered the event with praise. “It’s a beautiful marathon, and I am excited to be a part of it. It attracts great runners and I am happy to be associated with this race,” said Farah.

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