Road to Africa’s First Major

AWMM Candidate   |  Feb. 26, 2024

In 2023, we achieved a Personal Best, bringing you the best version yet of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon. It was our first-ever sellout, with a 40% increase in entries led by our running community rallying together behind the #YouDoCount campaign. Our 2023 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon also showcased the greatest spirit and community, as running clubs, crews, and everyone in between gathered to celebrate running.

“I had the privilege to attend the 2023 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and was inspired by the unique atmosphere and incredible vibe generated by the running community,” lauded Dawn Stone, Chief Executive Officer of Abbott World Marathon Majors, spearheading the team behind our assessment.

“Cape Town has something special, and the race took huge strides towards the standards we want them to meet,” Stone acknowledges. “It is a challenge for any race to get to that level, and we know the team has learned from their 2023 assessment and is making the appropriate improvements to help ensure they pass the criteria going forward. I am excited to see them strive for that pass mark in 2024.”

And, while all Personal Bests are worth celebrating – even ones that fall short of your ultimate goal – the 2023 event left the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon team hungry for more. Hungry to bring Africa her first Major.

This journey is as much ours as it is yours, our runners. In the spirit of candidness, we share where we fell short in our Candidacy and how you, our running community, can help the 2024 edition hit the mark.

Here’s how we plan to hit the mark this year

There were minor criteria points that we missed the mark on, which require only simple tweaks to improve. For example, at the 2024 edition of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, you’ll be seeing bigger kilometer markers, better race village signage, barriers instead of cones separating runners and traffic, as well as clocks every 5 kilometers.

We need more spectators in Woodstock and Salt River and are doing our best to secure Activation partners for this stretch of the marathon route, but the door is open for you too to bring your South African gees to this somewhat dreary and mentally challenging section of the course. Cheer squads, pull up and make this the vibey-est part yet. We dare you.

One of the biggest issues we had on the 2023 route was parked cars – specifically along Beach Road and the Sea Point section of the route. We have committed to starting our communication with residents in these areas earlier to please relocate their cars come race day. Early communication allows those who may be out of the country to plan ahead and help us pass this criterion point. Additionally we will be providing secure parking for residents to move their vehicles to.

We understand it is a pain to have to move your car, especially when it’s at your residence. However, it’s only for one morning and enables you to play an integral part of something bigger than yourself. This small act has a big impact in bringing Africa her first Major. Similarly, if you have non-running friends in these areas who may not know about the race and the significance of leaving their car along the route – tell them. The more advocates we have in our corner, the better.

Our final main shortfalling in 2023 was the quality of our elite field. While a Catch-22 – as attaining Major status would naturally attract a bigger and better elite field – we are confronting our shortcomings head-on. For our 2024 event, we have allocated even more budget to attaining a higher quality elite field and are working closely with our sponsors and running networks to do our utmost to get gold and platinum-level elites to our start line.

We hope this update on our road towards Africa’s first Major fills you with shared optimism in our continued pursuit of putting on a world-class festival of running. Like all champions, we are going again, because dreamers keep trying. One foot in front of the other, just like running a marathon. We’ll see you at the finish line in 2024.

Enter the 2024 edition of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon here.

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