Cape Town - This year,
defending Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (OMTOM) champion Caroline Wöstmann
will line up at the start of the world’s most beautiful marathon as the title
holder of all three of South Africa’s major ultra-marathons.
winning OMTOM in 2015, Wöstmann went on to claim the 2015 Comrades Marathon
crown, and earlier in March this year she won her first Old Mutual Om die Dam
crown” champ is only the second woman after ultra-marathon legend Frith van der
Merwe to have won all three titles, but she is the first person to have won all
three within a period of 12 months.
pretty special,” Wöstmann said ahead of the 2016 Two Oceans
“I didn’t really think about it at the time, but once it sunk in
after a few days I realised it was quite awesome.”
admits that there was no special approach to the Om die Dam, and
that she was really just looking for a high mileage training run with OMTOM and
Comrades Marathon around the corner.
“If I’m honest, I just wanted to run a
good distance at the same pace, so winning was unexpected.”
sounds familiar, that’s because it’s exactly how Wöstmann approached last
“Honestly, I had no intention of winning. It was a training run
for me that turned into a special day. Everything just clicked and before I knew
it I was in the lead. I think that happens once in your career, and it happened
to me that day. The adrenalin was pumping when I realised I was in the lead,
and I think that’s why my smile was so wide!”
three in the bag, talk now turns to defending 2015’s titles. For Wöstmann,
though, the Comrades Marathon is her 2016 priority.
“Previously OMTOM was a
training run, but now people are deciding to race either Two Oceans or
Comrades. My goal for this year is Comrades. I grew up watching the race and
when I started running seven-and-a-half years ago, that was the race I wanted
to run. I feel I’m incomplete with just last year’s up run win, though, so I
need to win the down run to really say I’ve ‘won’ the Comrades Marathon.”
common thread through all three events is that of sponsor, Old Mutual. The
financial services company has sponsored Om die Dam for 26 years, Two Oceans
for 17 and has recently come on board with the Comrades Marathon. In 2015 they
also committed a three-year sponsorship to the Soweto Marathon. It’s something
that committed runners like Wöstmann are taking note of.
Mutual does for running is fantastic,” she says.
“You can see that they are
committed to running thanks to their long-term involvement in the sport. What
Old Mutual does allows many people the chance not just to compete at a high
level, but also to strive for something. They are key role players in South
African running, so long may it continue.”