Johannesburg - South African marathon champion Charne Bosman has decided not to defend her title in the women's race next weekend.
Bosman said on Tuesday she would instead focus on a podium finish at the Two Oceans ultra marathon in March.
"This was a very hard decision to make, but I've decided to focus on the Two Oceans ultra marathon this year.
"The SA marathon champs and Two Oceans are too close to each other and I chose to only focus on my main goal for this year, which is the Two Oceans. I don't want to run the SA marathon champs and not have a great race at Two Oceans."
The two-time Soweto marathon champion clinched her second consecutive SA marathon championships title last year, after she won the women's race in two hours 41 minutes and 56 seconds, three minutes faster than her time in 2011. She also won the race in 2008.
Bosman, who recently signed up with Team Bonitas, said she aimed to have a successful season in the ultra distances, but would still be running the shorter distances.
Last weekend, she finished second at the Dis-Chem Half Marathon in Johannesburg, 30 seconds behind race winner, Irvette Van Zyl (Van Blerk) who clocked in a time of 77:47 seconds.
"My finish at the half marathon was impressive and I'm happy with a second place finish at the challenging course," Bosman said.
"Everything now though will be for my build up to the Two Oceans.
"I will be doing the Johnston Crane 42km as part of a training run on Sunday and will also do the Pick n Pay marathon as a training run. After the Pick n Pay marathon I will be heading to Graskop for a two week training camp."
Bosman ran a personal best time of 2:39:26 at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2005, where she finished 4th and later participated at the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
She finished second at the City to City race last year, which was her first bite at the ultra marathon.
"That race was my preparation for the Two Oceans," she said.
"Everyone says the City to City is difficult and more challenging than the Oceans. That encouraged me to run the two oceans this year."