Thousands running for peace at Sanlam Cape Town Marathon
With a record-breaking event on the cards this year, organisers are again aiming to capitalise on the rapid success of one of Africa's iconic road races, with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon used as a platform to promote development and peace through sport.
After recently becoming the first 42.2km race on the continent to receive Gold Label recognition from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the annual road running festival joins various other top-flight races around the globe in forming a global unification tool.
More than five months before runners from across South Africa and around the world converge on the Mother City, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is already displaying its intent in driving this movement forward by launching a peace campaign ahead of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to be held on Thursday, 6 April.
Several road races around the world have successfully used road running to promote peace and development through active participation in sport, and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon continues to play a key role as part of an international cause, along with multiple other events including:
- Kosice Peace Marathon, Slovakia
- International Peace Marathon and Half Marathon, Washington DC
- International Peace Marathon of Kigali, Rwanda
- Peace Run torch relay, held in over 100 countries
In South Africa, a number of other codes have also shared similar ideals, unifying people across divides since the country's readmission to international sport in 1991.
In 1995, former President Nelson Mandela capitalised on the country's passion for sport, utilising the Rugby World Cup as a catalyst to promote peace and unity among all South Africans.
Mandela, in his now famous speech at the 2000 Laureus World Sports Awards, said: "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair."
In 2003, at the opening of the Cricket World Cup, retired international cricketer and prominent sports administrator Ali Bacher said: "This sports competition is about peace among the peoples of this world. It is about strengthening friendship among the nations and the youth of the world. It seeks to celebrate both individual talent and our achievements through our collective and cooperative efforts as human beings."
In 2009, the CSV Community Project, which promotes sport as a tool for development and peace, was launched ahead of the Fifa World Cup in partnership with the United Nations. Among the most successful 2010 World Cup legacy projects, it now involves more than 20 000 primary and high school learners from 20 schools in the Cape Town area.
By delivering the race's Run4Change Peace message in the build-up to the four-day road running festival in the Mother City in September, and taking a pro-active approach with the Run4Change Legacy Programme, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and its partners remain focussed on driving home the need for peace, friendship, harmony and understanding in all aspects of life.
A Run4Change pledge wall will be found at most activations in the build-up to the event, giving athletes and spectators across the country a chance to get behind the Run4Peace campaign, and assist in raising awareness.
Says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race director Janet Welham: "By bringing together divided communities, we are able to share the ethos and values attached to clean sport and fair play, and encourage positive social change throughout the Western Cape and across South Africa. As we continue to empower people with courage, inspiration, determination, respect, friendship, equality and excellence, we can work together to build peaceful communities through social cohesion. We are proud to be able to continue spreading this message."
All races held during this year's action-packed road running spectacle will incorporate the Run4Change message, including:
- 12km and 22km Sanlam Cape Town Peace Trail Runs
- Sanlam Cape Town 10km Peace Run
- Sanlam Cape Town Marathon 42km race
- Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Peace Fun Run
Open to all participants and spectators, the Run4Change pledge to Run4Peace gives people an opportunity to play a more active role in bringing communities together, while the #RunGreen environmental awareness initiative and #Run4aCause charity drive also continue to make a difference to thousands of individuals each year.
Says Elana Meyer, an ambassador for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and the global Pledge4Peace campaign: "Runners are encouraged to take the pledge to Run4Peace as well as a Pledge4Peace card to show symbolic support to the United Nation’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), celebrated on 6 April. By bridging the gap on the world's top marathons, while we strive for excellence as a sustainable world-class event, we remain committed to utilising the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as a powerful tool to promote positive change in our society."
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon festival, taking place between 14-17 September, 2017 also includes an Expo and will this year host the AIMS International Conference.
Africa is my home, this is my race. It's Cape Town, must run it!
- Must explore it
- Must experience it
- Must discover it
- Must feel it
Entries for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon are open.
Africa is my home, this is my race. It's Cape Town, must run it!
To find out more, go to www.sanlamcapetownmarathon.com
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