Cape Town - On Sunday Caroline Wostmann will try to achieve something that
has never been done. She will attempt to win both the Two Oceans and the
Comrades ultra-races in two consecutive years.
With her victory in last year’s Comrades, Wostmann, who trains at the
High Performance Centre (HPC), became only the fourth athlete ever to
win the Two Oceans and the Comrades in the same year.
Derek Preiss (1974
and 1975), Frith van der Merwe (1989) and Elena Nurgalieva from Russia
(2004 and 2012), are the only other athletes who were able to accomplish
Lindsey Parry (head coach at Tuks/HPC) emphasised that making running
history will not be what the Comrades is about for Wostmann on Sunday.
“Caroline’s only focus will be to stick to the race plan we agreed on. I
think we have planned a good race. I know you can never expect to win a
race but we are expecting to be competitive. The good thing is that, as
far as I am concerned, there is no pressure on Caroline. The fact that
she has won the Two Oceans means that she has already achieved a great
result for the year.”
What does it take to win Comrades?
“It is no secret. The fastest time on the day will win the race and we
are aiming to run the fastest time. It is not impossible for Caroline to
go under six hours but that is not our target.”
Parry expects that the women’s race might boil down to a battle between
Wostmann, Charné Bosman (@Nedbank Dream Team) and Britain’s Ellie
Greenwood (@Nedbank Dream Team). Last year Bosman, who also trains at
the HPC, was second and Greenwood finished second in 2014.
“Quite a few other talented runners will also be competing. For example
Sweden’s Kajsa Berg (@Nedbank Green Team) who finished second last
September in the World 100km Championships in Winschoten, the
Netherlands, but it is important to keep in mind that nobody just ‘rocks
up’ at Comrades and wins. You first have to pay your dues.”
According to Parry, the unknown factors in the race will be Tanith
Maxwell, a former Olympian marathon athlete, and Colleen de Reuck, the
SA Olympian who now lives in the USA. Although De Reuck is 52 already,
Parry is confident that she will finish in the top 10.
Parry prefers not to make predictions about what might happen if
Wostmann and Bosman should be the two athletes to duel it out over the
“I coach both of them so I try not to play them off against each other.
If Charné remembers to stick to her game plan it could be a very
Asked if he made major changes to the training programmes of Wostmann
and Bosman since last year when they prepared for the ‘up-run’ (Durban
to Pietermaritzburg), Parry said: “The fundamentals of running Comrades
remain the same. In both the up and down runs the first 27km
are the hardest part of the course.”