Soweto Marathon likely to return in 2022
Runners are waiting in anticipation following the announcement that, next year's Soweto Marathon could go ahead. Athletics South Africa (ASA) has released the official 2022 fixture list, where the iconic marathon has been put down to take place on its usual date in early November. Central Gauteng Athletics' biggest 42km road race by participation will be run on 6 November, should the national regulations around mass gatherings remain as they currently are.
"The talk of a possible fourth wave and the start in the rise in new infections means we should keep our fingers crossed that it does not lead to government suspension of sports again," said ASA President James Moloi speaking after the release of next season's calendar which also includes the Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town on 16 and 17 April, the Comrades Marathon on 28 August, the Cape Town Marathon on 16 October, and even the Om Die Dam ultra-marathon in Hartbeespoort whose date is yet to be confirmed.
But two years of Covid-19 enforced cancelations, have left many wondering if The People's Race would ever return. When it was last run in 2019, Soweto is it affectionately known by runners, hosted 40 000 participants with almost 10 000 running the marathon and the rest taking part in the 21km and 10km events.
"From 2018 where we had 30 000 runners, this year it's 40 000 runners. That is a historic number in so far as the number of marathons are concerned. This is a race that is loved by athletes," said Soweto Marathon Trust Chairperson Sello Khunou in celebration of the 2019 race. The plan had been to grow participation to a whopping 50 000 before the Coronavirus intervened.
While that number of 50 000 is unlikely in 2022, the Soweto Marathon's inclusion on the official national fixture list bodes well for the race. "We are looking forward to a great season next year after most of our domestic and international calendar was disrupted by the global pandemic over the last two seasons. As the new season begins to unfold and move into full swing, we look forward to new champions,” Moloi concluded.