Record field for Two Oceans
Cape Town - A record field of over 25 000 runners are expected to line up for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on Easter Saturday, April 7.
The half marathon has attracted the biggest field in the event's history, with just over 16 000 participants lining up and more than half of them are women. The ultra marathon has also attracted a large field of just over 9 200, not a record field, but certainly one of the biggest fields in the history of the ultra.
The half marathon is the biggest in the country and broke all entry records when entries closed in just nine days. The trail run also set some entry records of its own as all 800 entries went in under three hours. This is the third year the trail run is being held and has become a "must do" event on the trail running calendar.
Race director Rowyn James added that while the ultra remains the flagship event with all the tradition and history behind it, the half marathon and trail runs are definitely where the growth is in terms of women's and novice running and participants looking for something different to do.
This year sees Western Province recording the biggest overall contingent of runners taking part in both events with 10 810 participants, which is 43% of the total field. Runners from the rest of South Africa amount to 13 102, with 1 517 runners coming from outside South Africa (international and Africa).
Other interesting statistics include the following:
Of last year's top 10 men in the ultra, all 10 have entered this year's event. In the women's ultra race, five of the top 10 have entered. Only one of the Nurgalieva twins will be taking part this year as defending champion Olesya has had to pull out due to injury. Elena has confirmed that she will definitely be taking part. The men's defending champion, George Ntshiliza, will also be lining up on race day.
In the 21km, six of last year's top 10 in the men have entered and Lusapho April will again be back to defend his title, although he faces some tough competition from some top contenders. In the women's race, six of last year's top 10 have entered, but last year's winner and course record holder Helalia Johannes will not be back to defend her title.
For the first time in the event's history, the top 10 men and women in both the ultra and the half marathon will undergo dope testing by Drug Free Sport SA. In previous years, there was random testing of the top 10.
Just over R250 000 has been raised for the event's official beneficiaries "I am Water", SANParks and the SANParks Honorary Rangers. The Two Oceans Marathon Association wanted to spread the goodwill among chosen beneficiaries whose priorities lie with ensuring that our parks, flora and fauna, as well as our oceans, are maintained and protected.
1 517 runners or 6% of the total field will be coming from outside the borders of South Africa. 78 different countries will be taking part, with the United Kingdom recording the biggest contingent of runners with 394 participants. There are 270 runners coming from Germany, and 220 from the USA.
88 runners will receive their light blue number for completing 10 half marathons, while 145 runners participating in the 21km have their light blue number already.
238 runners will get their blue number for completing 10 ultras. 1 016 runners participating in the 56km have their blue number already.
267 runners who have their blue number for the ultra will be running the half marathon this year.
In the 56km, 74% of the field are men and 26% are women. 34% of the ultra field are novices and will be doing the race for the first time. 68% of the ultra field comes from outside the Western Cape.
In the 21km, 49% of the field are men and 51% are women. Just over half the field (52%) are novices and will be doing the race for the first time. 42% of this total field comes from outside of the Western Cape. 66% will be running in a temporary license so are not a member of a club.
Administrative entries constitute 9.6% of the total entries received, which means that 90.4% of the participants entered online.
The three biggest Western Province clubs entries come from Acsis Varsity Old Boys with 471 runners, Lion of Africa Itheko Athletic Club with 342 runners and Celtic Harriers with 287 in both races. Rand Athletic Club from Gauteng has 354 entries for both races.
46 runners in the 21km and 31 runners in the 56km will celebrate their birthday on race day.