South Africa 17 September: Cape Town

Peace Runners at the Cape Town Peace Marathon

On behalf of the Cape Town Marathon, Janet Welham, Race Director, very kindly invited the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run to be part of the 2017 Cape Town Peace Marathon. The marathon's theme of peace and the humble efforts of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Runners to share the message of peace around the world go together very well.

Janet makes a wish for peace with the Peace Torch the day before the race.

Here former Springbok rugby captain John Smit holds the Peace Torch with the Cape Town Marathon Race Director Janet Welham and the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run's Abhijatri Robinson the day before the marathon. John was planning to run the marathon the next day as part of the Unogwaja team to raise funds for charity.

Here John Smit holds the Peace Torch with three other members of the Unogwaja team.

On the morning of the Cape Town Marathon about half an hour before the official start, two South African legends in sport, Francois Pienaar, former captain of the South African Springbok Rugby Team, and Graeme Smith, former captain of the South African National Cricket Team (the Proteas) hold the Peace Torch together.

Nelson Mandela famously wore Francois' rugby jersey for the 1995 World Cup Final against New Zealand, which South Africa won. This game, which in many ways hugely changed South Africa, was portrayed in the 2009 film "Invictus" starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

For the marathon Francois' race number was 46664, the number that Nelson Mandela was given at Robben Island in 1964. Francois explained that they had hoped to light the Peace Torch in Nelson Mandela's cell at Robben island on the morning of the race but for administrative reasons it had not been possible on this occasion.

Francois' Race number is the same as Nelson Mandela's Robben Island prison number, 46664.

Among other remarkable records, Graeme Smith is the most successful test captain in test history having captained the Protea's to over 50 wins.

Francois and Graeme with the Peace Run Team just after lighting the Peace Torch.

Here two young athletes from Western Province Athletics, along with WP Athletics board member Allen Barnes.

Here City of Cape Town Councillor and Mayoral Committee member Alderman JP Smith joins the group.

Francois Pienaar walks with the torch up to the start of the marathon.

It was a beautiful day.

Ernst van Dyk, who is one of South Africa's most successful paralympians and a ten time winner of the Boston Marathon, with the Peace Torch.

In the starting area Francois Pienaar handed over the Peace Torch to Elana Meyer. Elana is one of South Africa's most celebrated Olympians and has dedicated to her life to encouraging sport and physical and emotional well-being amongst
South Africans. Amongst many other feats Elana won the silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in the 10,000 metres event. Francois and Elana are both part of the team that put this incredibly inspirational Peace Marathon event together with the City of Cape Town and Western Province Athletics.

Elana holds the torch as the choir sing Asimbonanga.

Some of the top marathon runners inwardly preparing for the race.

What a smile!

The "enabled" athletes getting ready.

Former President Nelson Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does." You see just how true this is in this race.

Francois Pienaar talking to the SABC before the start. Francois and Graeme went on to run a respectable sub 5 hour marathon.

All action!

The elite athletes. Ethiopian Asefa Negewo in the blue vest on the left of this photo went on to win the race in an incredible time of 2:10:01.

A few moments before the start.

The choir sings the national anthem.

Elana clapping with the runners.

All smiles just before the start.

Cliff and Jarred from the Peace Run Team in pole position.

And they're off! Table mountain can be seen in the background.

Talia, a friend of the Peace Run team, spent a few minutes collecting discarded clothes to give to underprivileged communities.

After the marathon start Elana Meyer took the Peace Torch to the start of the 10 km race. The Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, who has previously held the torch, received the Torch from Elana. Mayor de Lille had taken up the challenge to run the 10 km race.

Here Deputy Minister of Sport, Gert Oosthuizen, holds the Peace Torch at the start of the 10 km race. Standing next to him is Sello Hatang who is the Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The VIPs just before the start of the 10 km race.

A great photo of Allan Barnes, Gert Oosthuizen, Elana Meyer and Sello Hatang with the Peace Torch.

Here Elena Meyer, Gert Oosthuizen and Yegs Ramiah, CEO of Sanlam,the main race sponsor, hold the Peace Torch.

The start of the 10 km was a blurr of speed!

After the start of the 10 km race Elana Meyer and Deputy Minister Gert Oosthuizen took the Peace Torch to the finishing area to light the cauldron. Elana said something very inspiring “Today we have a flame here as a symbol of peace. I want to encourage all of you to keep that flame burning every single day of the year”.

Here the VIPs light the cauldron with the Peace Torch.

The cauldron was extinguished at the end of the six and a half hour marathon cut off.

Western Province Board Member Allen Barnes holds the Peace Torch with Sello Hatang from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Peace Run's Shree Chirkoot.

Elana Meyer with the Peace Run Team members, Abhijatri, Penny and Shree.

After all the fun of the start and lighting the cauldron the top 10 km runners started to finish. We took the torch to the finish area and gave some of the runners a chance to hold the torch and make a wish for peace. In the centre of this group is Jeromy Andreas who came second in the 10 km in a time of 28:44.

10 km race winner Glenrose Xaba (centre 33:24) poses with second place finisher, Stella Marais (right 34:59), and fourth place finisher Anel Terblanche (left 36:22).

These runners were from a team of 25 farm workers. Well done guys.

Here Bryn Dennis holds the Peace Torch with his very proud mom!

These three were so tired that they had to hold the Peace Torch sitting down!

Here Carmichael from George holds the Torch.

These two ladies had kindly volunteered to help at the race. Their food was delicious!

Two of the official supporters from Sanlam hold the Peace Torch.

After the start we took the Peace Torch to Cliff and Jarred on the course and they carried it the rest of the way to the finish.

Boy was it hot - all credit to the runners.

The support crew for Cliff and Jarred.

Cliff's brother Jeff (centre in white) was running his first marathon with friend Daniela (on right)

We also gave our runners a bit of nourishment.

Baked potatoes and energy drinks...

Go go go!!!

Cliff and Jarred with just 4 km to go.

There is always such a feeling of joy after a marathon.

I somehow feel that both former President Nelson Mandela and the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run founder, Sri Chinmoy, would have been very happy with this day and would have been proud of the whole team who put this wonderful event together.