By: Pat Freeman
I was thrilled to have an opportunity to run a “big City marathon” again, even though this one has been around for 10 years in various forms and ever growing, I had never run it! This year the Event was upgraded to an IAAF Gold Label Status, the only marathon to have this status in Africa!
What this really means is that the organisers have met certain criteria to host a world class event where athletes from all over the world are invited to compete against each other, and to encourage our own SA athletes to improve their marathon times accordingly. The weekend comprised of a number of events other than the marathon and a host of celebrities were also encouraged to take part.
The date chosen for this marathon is always “September” and as near as possible to heritage day to encompass the “heritage” theme by taking the runners around the history and beauty of Cape Town on foot – a pleasantly “flatish” course!
On my arrival in Cape Town on Saturday, I was met by the Cape Doctor! Shoo! the wind was pumping – I heard that the Expo/Registration had closed early the night before due to concerns of the huge tents taking flight! However, I successfully registered, received a beautiful tshirt & wondered around a mini expo that was situated on Granger Bay between the waterfront and the Greenpoint stadium.
Roll on race day! As part of the race perks, Uber trips to and from the start of the Marathon were free! So I arrived to my Gold Label race in a taxi! What a perfect day was ordered for the race! Too beautiful, which made the race seem easier! (it was a trick!) The streets were clean and scenery breathtaking – despite the water shortage in the Cape, the seconding provided was very good.
We ran out towards Sea Point, back towards the City Bowl and up Long Street right to the Mt Nelson Hotel, which looked spectacular against the mountain (If I could have breathed I would have taken some pictures). Back down into town and then out towards the southern suburbs of Rosebank, Mowbray and eventually turned at Newlands and did a lap around Rondebosch Common at the halfway mark.
From there we did a bit of a tour of Paarden Island and ran along the Rapid Transport Lane (dedicated bus lane – quite cool), it was so interesting that I forgot I was shattered! Back up into the city again – over a bridge that had been boarded into a ramp for easy running – really lovely, then along a flat area to the finish. I must just mention that it must be noted that I finished ahead of Mr Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar and Mr Cricket Captain Graeme Smith who were at least five minutes behind me!
IAAF GOLD LABEL STATUS MARATHON competitor