With less than two weeks to go before runners, elite athletes and supporters descend on the Mother City for the annual Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, race organisers are aiming to help charities raise in excess of R2,5 million through over the 50+ charities involved in the marathon’s Run4Change Legacy Programme.
Designed to spur positive and meaningful societal change both for local communities and for the country as a whole, the programme focuses on five key areas, one of which is charity. This funnels funds into areas that need a greater degree of awareness or grassroots assistance, with the main focus on children, community, education, environment, health, wildlife and women. The other four areas are personal health, environmental sustainability, community peace and athlete development.
“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.”
Taking place on Sunday 23 September, this year’s marathon is the pinnacle of a weekend-long festival of running that includes two Peace Trail Runs (22km and 12km), a 5km Peace Run/ Walk and a 10km Peace Run. It has attracted top-flight international and local elite athlete support, with countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Australia, the UK, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe represented. South Africa’s top marathon runners Stephen Mokoka, Desmond Mokgobu, and Nolene Conrad will be taking part.
“A range of fundraising activities are available, from supporting one or more of the marathon’s official charities active in sports development, or linking in with one of the 50 charities listed on the marathon’s GivenGain fundraising profile,” says Van Zyl-Meyer.
The Western Province Athletics’ Kids Athletics Development Programme and SA Endurance Academy - are the marathon’s official charities. Over R255 000 has already been raised to date through the marathon’s GivenGain profile, with over 100 fundraisers taking part, 15 countries represented and 52 charities benefiting.
Janneke Cillie, who has raised over R6 000 for the Animal Anti-Cruelty League in Cape Town through GivenGain, says, “I love animals and wanted to help in some way, or even just raise awareness. The online process is so convenient – the steps are easy to follow and it’s so much quicker and safer than going door-to-door asking for money. Also, with an online platform, your donors can read up on what you’re doing and how you’re going about it.”
Charity involvement with this year’s marathon will not only provide much-needed financial support but also add a splash of colour, vibrancy and entertainment. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA will see their board member leading the charge, along with five other runners, attempting to set a new Guinness World Record on behalf of the SPCA by wearing a custom-made six-man sausage-dog suit for the full length of the marathon.
Endurocad’s “Enduro-Heroes” campaign has runners dressing up as their favourite superheroes and running in full gear. Endurocad will host community music bands and live entertainment at its supporters’ zone at the 32km mark.
The Jag Foundation, which uses sport as an educational tool for skills development in communities affected by gangsterism, drugs and abuse, has engaged about 32 000 kids since its inception. To celebrate this milestone, they’ll count 400 runners past their waterpoint, who will have taken 32 000 steps combined to get there. The Foundation will provide entertainment at the waterpoint, including DJs, hiphop dancers and a high-school brass band.
The Stellenbosch University Alumni’s #Move4Food initiate brings attention to and raises funds for students who don’t have access to daily food. Designed to raise R10 million in donations (cash and goods), the initiative is challenging its staff, students, alumni and friends to run the marathon for this cause, with the university’s rector, Professor Wim de Villiers, among the first to sign on.