Covid-19: Cape Town Marathon goes virtual

The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon will offer an interactive and immersive race experience for athletes across the globe.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Sanlam’s chosen beneficiary of funds from the race, will continue to benefit from the race in 2020, irrespective of the form it takes. Photo: www.capetownmarathon.com

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race organisers are adding a virtual version of the iconic city marathon to its existing bouquet of events.

The virtual marathon will offer an interactive and immersive race experience for athletes across the globe by superimposing the race route on top of streets, open spaces and gardens, complete with live tracking, distance markers, and push messages with information about key landmarks as they are passed.

The creation of this virtual race will allow athletes to compete in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on October 18 from anywhere in the world, starting at 6.30am local time, wherever they are.

The race will be available through the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon app, an integrated digital platform that will launch in the coming weeks.

“We are excited to introduce this digital offering.

“The app will track participants as if they are running the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route, whether they find themselves in New York, Naples or Knysna, making this a virtual race like no other.

“I am certain that having a race on the horizon will give athletes a tangible goal to work towards, and the extra motivation needed to maintain their training within the parameters of the lockdown levels they may find themselves in,” said marathon chairperson, Francois Pienaar.

As it is still too early to predict whether the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be staged in its original format on October 18, the race organisers remain in close contact with Athletics South Africa and all relevant roleplayers as the months progress.

“While this is a significant challenge, it’s also the perfect time to be innovative, which is why we have reached out to and gained support from our sponsors, partners and stakeholders to bring the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to our global marathon family, no matter where they are,” added Pienaar.

Western Province Athletics president Jakes Jacobs has called the introduction of the virtual marathon an example of how race organisers can find creative solutions to the challenges they may face.

“In this uncertain time, we believe the way forward is to be responsible and prioritise the safety of all participants and stakeholders.

“This is a great example of how races can step up to the next level,” said Jacobs.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Sanlam’s chosen beneficiary of funds from the race, will continue to benefit from the race in 2020, irrespective of the form it takes.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was recently awarded World Athletics Gold Label Status for the fourth consecutive year, the only marathon on the African continent and one of only a select group of marathons in the world to have this status.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to sweep across the globe, and the postponement of the Olympic Games, all Gold Label Status races will retain their status for 2020 and 2021.

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