The Soweto Marathon has been revived by multiple partners led by Central Gauteng Athletics and Soweto Marathon Trust, with global sports brand, Nike, as the new title sponsor and partner of what is undoubtedly the people's race.
The race, confirmed for November 2, 2014, will see the organisers, Central Gauteng Athletics and Soweto Marathon Trust, supported by its partners Gauteng Provincial Government, City of Johannesburg, Schneider Electric and the National Lottery hosting 21,000 runners on the streets of Soweto, as the race traverses past iconic landmarks and heritage sites.
"The Soweto Marathon started in 1992, and has since become a historical race and premier event on the race calendar, and with our new title sponsor and partners, we want to collectively restore the race to its former flagship status," said Aleck Skhosana, President of Athletics South Africa.
"We are committed to delivering a running event that will re-ignite a sense of community, and continue a legacy, and are proud to welcome Nike on board as this year's title sponsor. Our race partners share in the vision to deliver an event that is based on a structure that is credible and mirrors the manner of governance and management of other events of this magnitude."
Nike continues to inspire and enable athletes around the world, to run faster and longer to achieve their personal best, and the brand's partnership with the Soweto Marathon provides the perfect platform for runners to Just Do It.
Says Nike Running Brand Manager, Simi Adeagbo: "We're excited to bring a new challenge to runners with the introduction of the 21.1 kilometre race in what was traditionally a 10 and 42.2 kilometre event. Nike is enabling the running movement and this experience is set to push runners, from novice to established, and we will be there with our Nike+ running app and run clubs to help our runners all the way to the finish line."
The event this year has garnered the support of sport leaders, government and official media partner SABC.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development, Clr Chris Vondo, says the City of Johannesburg is ready to deliver another world-class event, with the start and finish lines pegged at NASREC Expo Centre.
"The Nike Soweto Marathon is the most spectator supported marathon in the country and is an event which stimulates the socio-economic benefit within the community of Soweto, and we are committed to creating an experience for the community at large. This is the only marathon in the country that runs across a township touching key historic sites, and this is exciting for Jo'burg. Some of these sites play a significant role in preserving and showcasing our City's heritage, diversity of cultures and most of all it talks to the dynamic identity of this city."
The support of the partners is recognised by Gauteng Provincial Government, who is thrilled to have the race back.
"We are confident that the Nike Soweto Marathon will once again be acknowledged as a premium sporting event showcasing Gauteng as the home of champions as well as cultural, sporting and entertainment hub of South Africa," said MEC of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Honourable Ms Malebatsi Bopape.
With a large winning purse for top finishers in each category, the Nike Soweto Marathon is one of the richest races in the country. More importantly is the confirmation that the race is a qualifying event for the major ultra-marathons in South Africa.
Says race organiser, Banele Sindani of the Soweto Marathon Trust: "It is invigorating to have the resources and support of all our partners and sponsors, who understand the importance of this race to the elite runners, while putting on a great showcase for the community at large."
Reflecting on the significance of the race, South African road runner champions, Ludwick Mamabolo, Charne Bosman and Mapaseka Makhanya, echo the sentiments of the people's race being revived and look forward to lining up on the start on race day.
Registration for the Nike Soweto Marathon opens on Thursday, July 31, at 09h00 via the official race website: www.sowetomarathon.com
Runners can also register in store at Nike Stores at The Zone @ Rosebank and Sandton City Mall, the Orlando Community Centre in Soweto, Run-aWay Store in Pretoria, and The Sweat Shops in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The Nike Soweto Marathon 10 kilometre race is open to runners aged 15 years and older, with the race fee pegged at R100.00 for the Open category, and R75.00 for students and grand masters. Race start is 07h00.
The 21.1 kilometre event, which starts at 06h30, is open to runners aged 16 years and older, with the race fee pegged at R130.00 for the Open Category, and R90.00 for students and grand masters.
The main event, which starts at 06h00, will be open to all runners over the age of 20 years, with the Open category race fee set at R170.00 and R125.00 for students and grand masters.
Runners will receive a race pack including their race number and a commemorative t-shirt.
Octagon is proud to be associated with the Nike Soweto Marathon as its commercial agent.
Join The Conversation: Twitter: @sowetomarathon
#sowetomarathon #peoplesrace #werunsoweto