27 Jul Sanlam Cape Town Marathon becoming a World Major will revolutionise marathon running in SA says Ramaala
Legendary South African long distance runner Hendrick Ramaala believes when the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon (SCTM) becomes a World Major Marathon it will revolutionise SA marathon running.
The SCTM is currently the continent of Africa’s only World Athletics Gold Label marathon.
Last year marked the SCTM’s first of a three-year evaluation process as an Abbott World Marathon Majors Candidate.
The goal is to join New York Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Boston Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Tokyo Marathon as well as London Marathon as an Abbott World Marathon Majors event in 2025.
One of the criteria is for the race to attract the world’s best marathon athletes.
Ramaala, a former New York, marathon winner says when the SCTM becomes a world major there will be a lot of interest, and all the top marathon athletes would want to come run in the Mother City.
“We really need to make this marathon big. The dream is to make it a major. When that happens it will revolutionise marathon running in South Africa,” Ramaala said.
“It is bound to happen. It will bring a greater desire to win. Because the exposure of the race, everybody will be watching .
”The financial incentives will be higher and there will be more sponsorships. It will raise the noise levels when the SCTM becomes a major.
”It will be so high that we as coaches can start dreaming of winning. We already training guys to win the marathon this year. We want to dominate.
Ramaala believes the Rainbow Nation has produced world class distance athletes over the years that can compete with the best in the world.
“I’ve seen the best of the Kenyans, the Ethiopians and the Ugandans. As a trainer and coach I am seeing some of the most talented kids this country can provide,” said Ramaala who has a training group based in Zoo Lake in Johannesburg.”
“I think there are even more talented kids in the villages with no access. We haven’t even been there yet. I really believe we can compete with the best. We are not that far off, we just need to work a little bit harder.
“Don’t forget we used to be world beaters in the 80’s and early nineties with the Willie Mtolo’s, the late Zithuleli Sinqe, the Matthews Motshwarateu’s, and the Matthews Temane’s, South Africa used to be better than Kenya and all those other countries during the isolation years.
“The mines had a lot to do with it. They were of course recruited from the villages and the townships. They had the financial muscle because they were given jobs. I think now we have lost it a bit. But I think if we go back and check our history, we still have the best runners in the world.
“We have an abundance of talent everywhere . The more I see the youngsters run, the more I believe we are going in the right direction.
“It’s just that they are financially challenged. We don’t have the financial muscle like countries like the US and Australia amongst others for example.
“That is where we are lacking, but talent wise we are definitely not lacking,” added Ramaala.
The race takes place on the weekend of 14 and 15 October 2023.
Runners have the option of the 42.2km marathon, the 10km or 5km Peace Runs, or one of the three incredible trails – the 46km Trail Marathon by Ryan Sandes, the 22km Trail Challenge or the brand new 11km Trail Race.