Road races set to return to CGA
While the spotlight is currently on the return of track and field meetings in the country, roadrunners have also received a dose of good news. The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon confirmed that its race will go ahead later this year and that it is not going the virtual route either. Now Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) president James Moloi said he would engage with running clubs in Gauteng to help them organize road-running events under the Covid-19 regulations.
Because clubs end up losing money when they organize races for less than 250 runners, CGA has vowed to step in and help lessen the financial burden. CGA held its annual general meeting at the Germiston Stadium earlier this month and on top of its agenda was the return of road running events in the province. Moloi said CGA would prioritize the return of road running, as he knows the impact that the halt in road running events has had on the clubs and runners. "We will do our utmost best to bring back road running in Gauteng. That is our priority now. The track is back, but not everyone is a fan of track meetings and we know and understand the road runners' pain," said Moloi. The regional athletics federation has already confirmed that it will be hosting the Half Marathon and 10km Provincial Championships on 11 April 2021 at Germiston Stadium.
Cape Town Marathon general manager Barry Van Blerk said with or without mass participation, they would organize a road race for elite runners in the country. He said they are targeting 10 000 entries for the 17 October race. In the worst possible scenario, they would refund the runners their entries if Covid-19 rules governing outdoor events still limit participants to 250 runners by the time October comes. However, they would forge ahead with their plans and fly the top runners to Cape Town for the real race. “We won't host a virtual race this year. We will invite the elite runners if the situation has still not improved in the country and do a bio-bubble for them. We invite runners to enter and start training for something. We know that runners prefer the real thing and we intend to give it to them," van Blerk told #TheTopRunner.
Leading SA athletics administrator Nick Bester said he is on the verge of making runners smile from ear-to-ear. The Nedbank Running Club team manager said he would make a big announcement soon that would come as a welcome relief to runners. “My lips are sealed at the moment. The long-distance runners will be happy again. We have a big announcement to make. We are excited and cannot wait for it. It is just a matter of signing on the dotted lines and we will make it official,” Bester said. The pain caused by the cancelation of the Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon races could soon be a thing of the past for road runners.