Some runners call the Sanlam Cape Town virtual Marathon a ghost marathon. What makes this years’ marathon difficult is the runners won’t be able to see who they are running against on the day of the race.
The marathon will take place in three cities: Potchefstroom, Pretoria and Cape Town. Because of this, the runners will experience different weather conditions.
The invited elite runners will compete against each other in different parts of the country.
The starter’s gun will go off at 6.30am on Sunday. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon will follow an undisclosed route to comply with the national crowd control regulations, and the race will be broadcast live on SABC from 6.15am.
“You’re running against ghosts. You’ll be running against people that you can’t see and maybe faced with difficult weather conditions on the day,” said prominent marathoner Elroy Gelant.
The 34-year-old Potchefstroom-based runner pulled out of the race due to a knee injury that he sustained during the London Marathon three weeks ago. Stephen Mokoka, the Cape Town marathon record holder, also withdrew from the race.
But the Nelson Mandela Remembrance half-marathon champion, Collen Mulaudzi, will run his first Cape Town Marathon this weekend.
Gelant said the runners who will be taking part in this historic event this weekend must go out there and enjoy it. For most runners, the Cape Town Marathon has offered them motivation for training in a year when races elsewhere were cancelled because of the pandemic.
Other runners are used to running with pace setters but in the virtual marathon they must learn how to pace themselves. There will also be no crowd to cheer on the runners on the side of the road. But the excitement is that they are venturing into the unknown and that is an experience they won’t forget in their running careers.
Multi Olympic gold medallist and middle-distance sensation Mo Farah is the ambassador of this prestigious marathon. When unveiled at a virtual press conference a few weeks ago, the British star showered the event with praise. “It’s a beautiful marathon, and I am excited to be a part of it. It attracts great runners and I am happy to be associated with this race,” said Farah.