South African Athletics

Two Oceans runners racing for R1m incentive

2017-03-28 12:29
Two Oceans Marathon (File)

Cape Town - Elite runners in the 2017 Two Oceans Ultra Marathon will once again be racing towards a large incentive.

In addition to the prize money that will be won, title sponsor Old Mutual has also put a R1 million bonus prize on the table for the first male and female to break the respective Ultra records.

“The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is a highlight on the South African running and social calendar,” says Karen Thomas, Head of Brand at Old Mutual.

“It's a massive event that continues to grow and what really elevated the race to another level was the bonus incentive we introduced for the runners who break the record.” 

The R1 million bonus was first introduced to the Ultra Marathon ahead of the 2014 event, which sparked new motivation among elite runners to break the records originally set by Thompson Magawana and Frith van der Merwe.

Magawana set the men’s record of 3:03:44 in 1988, while Van der Merwe set the women’s record a year later in 1989 when she ran 3:30:36. 

The closest any runner has come since then is Zimbabwean Marko Mambo, who ran 3:05:39 in 2005. Russian Olesya Nurgalieva ran the second fastest women’s time in 2008 when she crossed the finish line in 3:34:53.

But, says Carol Vosloo, Two Oceans Marathon NPC General Manager, breaking these records will be a hard-won battle.

"The records were set on a downhill finish, which means runners now face the challenge of having to contend with an ascent to the finish line at UCT.

"We don't think it's impossible to break these records, but Old Mutual's Virtual Coach, Norrie Williamson estimates that only runners with lightning fast marathon times - 2:07 for the men and 2:23 for the women - will have a fighting chance."

Read more on:    two oceans  |  cape town  |  athletics

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