Since it’s relaunch in 2014, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has grown in stature year by year.Awarded Gold Label Status in 2017 – Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label Marathon – the race has seen entries increase each year to hit just over 22,800+ runners at this year’s event.
It has also seen some of the fastest times recorded in South Africa, with this year proving no exception.
While many may look to the front end of the race, the heartbeat of the marathon is its Run4Change Legacy Programme that aims to use this iconic weekend of racing to leverage change.
Over 60 charities participated this year in the fundraising arm, using the event as a platform to raise funds and working with organisers to exceed last year’s target of R 1.3 million. Runners embraced the objectives of the race to make a difference and chose to not only run through the streets of the Mother City, but also to make their run a meaningful one by raising funds for causes close to their hearts.
“This has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said race director, Janet Welham. “In 2017 we raised R1.3 million and are confident we have exceded last year’s amount this year. The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, as Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label Marathon, attracts some of the world’s best athletes, and we are immensely proud of that. But it is not only about those who set records. It is about all 22,800+ runners who took part in this year’s event, many of whom made use of this event to help and uplift society in so many areas. To have raised so much, is something of which we are enormously grateful for and thrilled that through this race we can make a difference in people’s lives.”
The Run4Change Legacy Programme aims to stimulate meaningful change to society in both the regional communities as well as on a national scale by focusing on five key areas, namely charity, health, sustainability, peace and development. The charity element channels funds into areas that are calling for greater awareness of assistance at grass roots level with a big emphasis on children. But community upliftment, the environment, health, wildlife and women are also major benefactors.
Over R700 000 alone has been raised through the GivenGain platform with over 100 fundraisers from over 15 countries taking part. GivenGain marketing manager, Marius Maré, says online fundraising is still a fairly new concept in South Africa compared to the rest of the world, but growing fast. “If 158 people can raise R722,000, just imagine what would happen if 1,000 out of 20,000 runners fundraised next year.”
One of the initiatives to have raised the most funds is ‘Scrub Run’. Spearheaded by Gareth Obery, a group of students and doctors from the UCT Surgical Society took part in the Sanlam Cape Town 10km PEACE Run/ Walk dressed in surgical scrubs. All funds raised will be used for doctors to perform surgery on weekends to allow children, who otherwise would have to wait months, access to much needed medical procedures. With R150 000+ raised to date, it remains the highest fundraising initiative of this year’s marathon.
“This is something I have always wanted to do,” said Obery. “For me the journey is about participating in events such as the iconic Sanlam Cape Town Marathon not only to enjoy it and have fun, but simultaneously to uplift others and communities. We need to be cognisant that not everyone might have what we have and it’s important to leverage off events such as these to make a difference.”
The leader board on the marathon’s GivenGain fundraising page also shows other stunning individual fundraising achievements – including that of Professor Wim de Villiers, Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University. Prof De Villiers set an example to students and others who want to make a difference by raising more than R127,000 for #Move4Food – a campaign to fight student hunger.
“One student that goes hungry is one too many. It has been a pleasure to support this campaign, and what impressed me most has been the phenomenal response from our students, staff and alumni – more than 40 of whom also set up fundraising projects of their own. It shows each person can make a difference,” Prof De Villiers said.
The Animal Anti-Cruelty League in Cape Town was able to raise over R6 000 through GivenGain, while Endurocad’s ‘Enduro-Heroes’ ran through the streets of Cape Town in Superhero outfits. The JAG Foundation, who use sport as an educational tool to develop skills in communities affected by gangsterism, drugs and abuse, provided entertainment at their waterpoint, exactly 32,000 steps into the race, symbolising the 32, 000 engaged in the programme.
“No longer is running just for fun, keeping fit or competition,” says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race ambassador Elana van Zyl-Meyer. “A growing number of runners the world over have realised that, through their participation, they can rally attention and funds to causes they are truly passionate about.”