The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, with ASICS as technical sponsor, has won the 2017 AIMS Green Award recognising excellence in environmental practice. The annual Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) award for best environmental practices during a marathon was this year presented in Athens to race ambassador Elana van Zyl-Meyer and race director Janet Welham (above).

“With over 20 000 runners and their supporters descending on an ecologically sensitive environment between the ocean and Table Mountain National Park, we have a great responsibility to take care of the environment,” says Van Zyl-Meyer.

The AIMS Green Award that the Cape Town marathon won.

Their #RunGreen campaign included litter chuck zones along the route, a zero waste to landfill policy that aimed to recycle all waste, which reduced waste by 25% per runner. Almost three tons of waste (including paper, glass and various forms of plastic) was recycled, while 1.4 tons of non-recyclable solids (including organic waste and disposable water sachets) were sent to the New Horizon Energy Plant for conversion into renewable energy sources such as biomethane and gas. “We’re particularly proud of this, as a big source of waste is the plastic sachets that have become a challenge for race organisers across South Africa,” adds Welham.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a carbon-neutral event, with its 2017 carbon footprint (e.g. the transport by air and car of all athletes) offset by supporting three South African charities: Wonderbag, Reliance Compost and Basa Magogo. “We also purchase carbon credits from the JSE supporting South African-accredited climate-neutral projects,” Welham says.