More prize money and wheelchair race to be added as Cape Town prepares to join World Marathon Majors
South African road running legend Elana Meyer is over the moon that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has been officially confirmed as an Abbott World Marathon Majors candidate race – the first marathon in Africa to be nominated to join the illustrious group. On Wednesday organisers announced that as from 2022, the race will follow certain criteria (for three years) and if successful Cape Town will join an elite group of races including The Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW-BERLIN Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and TCS New York City Marathon – as a newest member of the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2025.
Meyer, who is the race ambassador, says this is good news for the country and will have a major impact on the economy of The Mother City. "I'm so overwhelmed with the news that Cape Town Marathon has been added as the candidate to be one of the major marathons in the world," said an elated Meyer.
"Cape Town is an iconic city and this news will means more people will flock to the city to check it out. That alone will make a difference in the economy of this country. To meet these standards to a major marathon in the world we must improve the race from the elite field, entertainment on the route, and grow the number of the finishers," explained the Olympic silver medalist and former half marathon world record holder.
In order for the race to meet the stringent World Marathon Major criteria, the prize money will have to increase while more categories such as a wheelchair race will have to be introduced. Meyer says organizers are fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
" To be classified amongst those six majors then our prize pursue must be increased to attract more international runners. Before we were required to invite athletes in the Top 100 to 200 in the world, but now we must invite athletes in the top 25 to come and run our race. So we are looking at the best of the best athletes in the world. Another thing is to introduce a wheelchair race, as all major races have it. Three years ago we did an exhibition for wheelchair racing to see how can we introduce it. That was all part of the plan going forward," she said. This year's race is scheduled on the 17th of October 2021.