Africa gets its first gold-status marathon + plus 7 other iconic marathons to add to your bucket list

2017-03-08 13:30 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has been awarded Gold, making it a first for the Africa continent.  

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label Status comes after what has been described as three years of concerted effort and planning - making it the first road race in Africa to be awarded such a high level of classification and one of only 35 IAAF Gold Label marathons internationally. 

So come September 16, the iconic Cape Town Marathon - in partnership with the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Athletics and ASEM Running - will see participants from more than 70 countries, increasing the number of entries to 25 000 across all race distances and disciplines on offer.

This year there is a big focus on fundraising, with a goal to raise R1.5 million for charity and to support and raise awareness around health and wellness, the environment, peace and development.

"This event has become so much more than just a road running race, and we hope to use our international status to drive change and make a difference for all South Africans," says race director, Janet Welham.

What you need to know: 

Saturday 16 September - click here for full race details and how to register

- The PEACE TRAIL 12km starts at 07h45

- Start: Green Point A Track, Green Point

- Finish: Green Point A Track, Green Point

Sunday 17 September - click here for full details

- Race starts at 07h10

- Start: Corner of Granger Bay Blvd and Fritz Sonnenberg Road, Green Point, Cape Town

- Finish: Green Point A Track, Green Point, Cape Town

- Cut off time – Duration is 1 hour 50 minutes – this will be strictly monitored

- Open to elite athletes; registered and unregistered runners of 14 years of age and over

And if you aim to tackle the 42.2km race this year, you'll find yourself running alongside the likes of the city's Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille and other race ambassador such as former Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar, former Proteas cricket skipper Graeme Smith and Zanele Mdodana, former captain of the south African netball team.  

See the fully interactive marathon map here

Are you a serial marathon runner?

If so, these iconic marathons need to be on your travelling bucket list:

Two Oceans Marathon - 14 & 15 April 2017

Taking place in Cape Town, this is one of the most notable events of the Easter Weekend in South Africa. Catering for a number of  endurance levels with both a full and half marathon the 46th Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon showcases scenic spots such as Chapman's Peak, Hout Bay and Constantia Nek. 

Comrades Marathon – 04 June 2017 

One of the oldest marathons in the world which first started in 1921, will take place between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. 

Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon – 11 July 2017

The Garden Route’s Knysna is home to a number of amazing marathons and trail runs. You can kick off the list with this Forest run, which starts at the top of the forest and said to be such a beautiful race to run.  

BMW Berlin Marathon - 24 September 2017

Take in the fascinating history of the city of Berlin with this race which starts and ends near the Brandenburg Gate—one of its most famous landmarks.  

TCS New York City Marathon - 11 July 2017 

With history dating back in the 1970, when a group of less than 130 runners did 22 loops around central park. It is easily one of the most revered races in the world seeing close to 47 000 participants from more than 140 countries   

Boston Marathon- 18 April 2017 

With a near mythical reputation thanks to its qualification specifications, even further cemented by the terror bombings in 2013, , a marathon list is not a list at all without this inclusion. Expect a small-town atmosphere as the point-to-point course begin in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and ends in Copley Square near the John Hancock Tower.  

Virgin London Marathon – 23 April 2017

With its distinct urban feel and a course studded with major landmarks as it starts in Greenwich Park, crosses the River Thames at Tower Bridge, runs through the east end of London passing landmarks like the Houses of Parliament before ending near Buckingham Palace. 

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