The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is set to become one of the official Major races of the world, and the first in Africa, it was announced on Wednesday.
The marathon has been nominated to become an Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) race, and will need to fulfil set criteria for the next three years before being approved as a Major marathon in 2025.
If successful, Cape Town will join Boston, London, Tokyo, New York, Berlin, and Chicago as the world's most prestigious annual marathons, and the only such race in the southern hemisphere.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said in a statement: "We are proud to be the host of SA and Africa's first Abbott World Marathon Majors Candidate and wholeheartedly support the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in the coming years.
"We know that these evaluation years will already offer a tremendous economic boost for Cape Town and its residents, and expect an annual influx of approximately 10,000 international athletes and their supporters in the coming years - especially once the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon earns Abbott World Marathon Major status.
"We can't wait to welcome more recreational and elite marathoners to Cape Town; it's time to show the world how we run a marathon to the African beat."
James Moloi, President of Athletics South Africa, added: "This is an important step in the history of road-running in the country and Africa as a whole. It will be a significant recognition which would elevate the race to another prestigious level."
The Cape Town Marathon is already one of the world's more in-demand races, and has been awarded World Athletics Gold Label Status for the past four years, including in 2020 when the race was run virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The race has been won by an African runner, in both the men's and women's races, every year but once since 2007 when the current format was introduced. The only non-African runner to win was Great Britain's Tish Jones, who won the women's race in 2016.