WINDHOEK, 19 APR – Sanlam Namibia officially launched the first-ever Coastal Marathon in Windhoek on Thursday, which is scheduled for 28 April in Swakopmund.
Speaking during the launch in Windhoek, Hilaria Graig, Marketing and Communications Manager at Sanlam Namibia said the aims and objectives of the marathon are to unearth athletics talent in Namibia, creating a platform for athletes to craft their skills while at the same time promoting health and fitness for all.
“We want to support Athletics Namibia (AN) in creating a platform for athletes to craft their skills more and have an opportunity to compete at the highest level,” she said.
The new competition will give athletes an opportunity to have a competition in the first quarter of the year, as currently events of such nature are scarce during this period.
Graig said they want the event to be a family event as it falls on the first Saturday of the school holidays, hence the call to involve a lot of school children who can be accompanied by family members.
Graig also emphasised that the Coastal Marathon will become an annual event which Sanlam promises will only get bigger and better each year.
The marathon will have three race categories – 10 kilometres, 21km and the full marathon 42.2km.
The competition is endorsed by Athletics Namibia and the Namibia Sports Commission.
It has attracted professional athletes, members from various running clubs from around the country and even fitness enthusiasts from as far as South Africa.
Sanlam has been involved with marathons before by sending athletes such as Commonwealth Gold medallist Helalia Johannes, Mynhardt Kauanivi, Ndehimona Ekondjo and Uveni Nawa Kugongelwa among others, to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
“The winners of the marathon in the 42.2km race will not only receive cash, but are also guaranteed automatic participation in the International Association of Athletics Federations Gold Label Status Sanlam Cape Town Marathon taking place in September,” Graig said.
IAAF Road Race Label events are races that the IAAF designates as one of the “leading road races around the world”. Gold labels have the strictest requirements, including that the race distance must be certified by the association or by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.
Speaking at the same event, AN Secretary General Madeleine Kotze acknowledged the role Sanlam plays in long distance events for Namibian athletes.
“We hope this event grows and becomes an international event that attracts the best athletes from Africa and internationally,” she said.
She added that the IAAF certificate for the Swakopmund route has expired, so athletes cannot qualify for big international competitions like the Olympics.
Kotze said the event can however be used for seeding for the Comrades Marathon, but not for qualifying as such.