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Sanlam Cape Town Marathon cancelled; Virtual Race to go ahead as planned

(Cape Town, 23 June 2020) – Following lengthy discussions, detailed review and careful consideration of all options and alternatives, the organisers and sponsors of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon have confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 event.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was scheduled to take place on Sunday, 18 October 2020. The event is one of many major South African mass participation sporting events that had to be removed from the SA racing calendar amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The road and trail Peace Runs have also been cancelled.

Athletics South Africa President Aleck Skhosana said, “Cancelling this year’s edition of the Cape Town Marathon was a difficult decision to make because it is also home to the ASA Marathon Championships. This is the only World Athletics Gold label marathon in Africa and it’s an influential nation-builder with a massive economic impact. We know that it will come as a great disappointment to thousands of runners who were looking forward to the race. However, the decision had to prioritise the health and safety of all involved, as well as the lives of all South Africans.”

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Chairman, Francois Pienaar, calls the cancellation a sad and disappointing moment. “This decision did not come easy, but was one that had to be made after exhausting all our options. The reality is that we simply cannot risk the health and well-being of our participants, volunteers, supporters and stakeholders. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our sponsors, partners and service providers who share our disappointment but agree that this is the most prudent option in these uncertain times.”

Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Brand at Sanlam, the race’s headline sponsor, commended the organising team for
taking the appropriate steps during these challenging times.

“At Sanlam, we fully support this decision. We feel deeply for all those people whose lives are positively impacted by the race each year. We are working alongside our partners to ensure that we are still able to generate as much economic activity as possible from the virtual race to allow us to continue to support our charities this year.

“In particular, we have made a pledge that CANSA, our biggest beneficiary, will continue to benefit from the race this year, no matter its format. We encourage runners to not only support the Virtual Race, but to also add a sense of meaning to their participation this year. Make this the year you Run For Something – whether it is to beat your personal record, celebrate your training journey during a challenging lockdown, or to raise money for a good cause like CANSA.”

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, added, “The country, along with the rest of the world, is faced with a serious crisis which has put a stop to mass participation events indefinitely . This is important in safeguarding the health and safety of participants, spectators as well as officials working in the events hosted in our beautiful city. The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is one of the most important spectacles on the city’s annual events calendar and as the City of Cape Town, we remain committed to supporting Africa’s only Gold-label status marathon and we look forward to hosting the race again in 2021.”

Full Refund
Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Race Director Renee Jordaan confirms that entrants will have the option to receive a full refund, or donate their entry fee to charity.

“All donated entry fees will be distributed between the Peninsula School Feeding Association and Community Chest of the Western Cape to support the increased social needs during the pandemic.”

The refund and donations process will be facilitated through entrants’ entry profile on Webtickets.

Affected entrants will receive detailed communications and instructions in this regard in the coming days.
All Systems Go For Virtual Marathon

Through combining cutting-edge technology, advanced tracking features, and pre-recorded audio and video within the Virtual Marathon App, participants get to enjoy the full Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race experience, no matter where they are in the world – from the start line ceremony, the lighting of the Peace Torch and the promenade sounds of seagulls and crashing ocean waves, to the local crowds and Cape minstrels cheering them on.

Runners’ race experience will be further enhanced by real-time tracking of their own run, while they are also informed of their virtual progress along the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route. And as the race will be run in athletes’ local time zone, participants will be able to challenge their mates elsewhere in the world while they wait for their own race to start.

This is the new face of virtual racing – a world first, coming from the heart of the Mother City
The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was recently awarded the prestigious 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.


Issued by: Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Media Office
Media queries, interview or image requests:
Leonie Mollentze
Tel: 082 550 1514
Event queries: