Picture: CHRIS VAN LENNEP/123RF
Picture: CHRIS VAN LENNEP/123RF

Mass participation sport is back. The City of Cape Town will roll out the welcome mat for the second successive weekend this Sunday when the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon returns to the Mother City’s streets and mountain trails.

It will be SA’s first major marathon in 2021, and organisers are expecting big fields for the various runs.

“We are excited to welcome over 9,000 marathon runners and 1,000 trail runners this weekend,” said Renée Jordaan, the race director.

“We also anticipate over 5,000 local and international participants in our 5km, 10km and 21km virtual peace runs, which runners can enter for until October 15.”

In the elite camp, Stephen Mokoka is aiming to make it two wins from two starts, while Gerda Steyn is looking for victory on her marathon debut in SA. But the two South Africans will face stiff opposition on Sunday.

Mokoka can expect a serious challenge from Ethiopia’s Alemayehu Ameta Belachew, who has a 2hr 7min 55sec marathon to his name, second-fastest in the field behind Mokoka.

Kenya’s Daniel Muteti (runner-up in 2019 with 2:09.25) and Emmanuel Oliaulo Ngatuny (2:08.22) will also face stiff opposition from three other Kenyans. Cosmas Kyeva has a best of 2:09.57 (Debno Marathon, 2014) and a pedigree of 11 marathon wins from 26 starts. Twenty-two-year old Robert Chemosin is fast making a name for himself in the marathon. Debuting in 2015 with a 2:08.5, Chemosin has run seven marathons and never placed outside the top 10. And Joseph Aperumoi boasts a best of 2:08.26, run in Amsterdam in 2017 where he finished 10th.

Steyn is in impressive company, facing five athletes who have run faster than 2:29 and the competition is at a similar level to her. Fastest in the field is Kenya’s Lucy Karimi with her 2:24.24 (third in the 2021 Geneva Marathon). Runner-up in 2019 Nurit Shimels is also back, boasting a best of 2:27.40. Namibia’s Beata Naigambo, who has represented her county on 11 occasions, has a best of 2:26.57.

Ayantu Abrea Demisse and Beje Bekelu Geleta of Ethiopia complete the line-up with bests of 2:29.30 and 2:27.50, respectively.

With a field tightly compacted, Steyn will for the first time possibly need to look at a tactical race, as opposed to running for time.

Registration will be at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday and Saturday.

 

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