Two Oceans chases a new field record
This year’s event in Mother City has so far roped in close to 9 500 entries.
This year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is closing in on a record number of entries with more than 9 000 submissions already having streamed in for the 56km race.
Race director Rowyn James said his office has received 9 479 entries so far, which makes it the second-biggest field in over two decades of the tradition-steeped Easter weekend ultra race.
The entries will be capped at 11 000.
The current record is the 2004 figure of 9 964.
“In all probability, we’ll beat this record, especially with the online entries still open until March 5,” James told City Press this week, adding that 1 196 international runners from 78 different countries have entered.
The 44th edition of the Two Oceans will be held in Cape Town on March 30.
Entries for the half marathon have closed after the 21km reached its full quota of 16 000 entries, James said.
“The 21km was sold out in four days and 37% of the runners are novices. Another interesting statistic is that the field is a 50-50 male and female split. ”
James said other festivities around the Two Oceans will be a trail run and the friendship run, which have proved to be very popular, and all available spots had been taken.
The organisers are also offering accommodation to underprivileged runners.
Said James: “We have space for 200 athletes in the Runners Village. Some runners travel from far and are forced to sleep on the benches or under the trees because they can’t afford decent accommodation. We’ll be able to assist – on a first-come-first served basis – between 150 and 200 athletes who are interested in booking into the village, free of charge.”
Interested athletes can call Phathiswa Gwethu on 021 657 5140 between 10am and 3pm or email runnersvillage@ twooceansmarathon.org.za.
» Meanwhile, the four ultra and half marathon defending champions have confirmed their participation.
They are three-time Comrades Marathon champion Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe, who won last year’s ultra in 3:08.08, the women’s 56km reigning champ Elena Nurgalieva as well as Xolisa Tyali and Olympic Marathon runner Rene Kalmer, who will put their 21km titles on the line.
In a bid for honours at the Two Oceans, Bonitas Athletics Club has acquired 2011 Soweto Marathon winner Michael Mazibuko and former SA Marathon champion Charné Bosman.
Team manager Joseph Ikaneng said other prominent runners who joined the stable include Odwa Tunyiswa (2011 City2City winner) and Mpho Mabuza (2012 SA Marathon runner-up).
The Nedbank Running Club also confirmed the entries of former 56km winners Bethuel Netshifhefhe (2007) and George Ntshiliza (2011) in their senior men’s line up.