The Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon continues to go from strength to strength and the Easter Saturday event on 23 April will see just over 14,000 runners lining up in Newlands, Cape Town.
Add in the flagship Two Oceans ultra-marathon over 56 kilometres and a record field of close to 23 000 runners are expected on the day The half marathon field is the biggest in the history of the event and half of them are women. The ultra currently has a field of just under 9000.
ÔÇ£The half marathon is the biggest in the country and broke all entry records when we had to close entries in early January, two months ahead of the planned cut-off date.┬áTwo thousand entries were received in 36 hours before we closed entries,ÔÇØ said Rowyn James, race director.
The trail run has also broken records in terms of entries as all of the 800 entries went in under 24 hours. This is the second year the trail run is being held and it is becoming a ÔÇ£must doÔÇØ event on the calendar.
James added that while the ultra remains the flagship event with all the rich 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 again recording the biggest overall contingent of runners taking part in both events with 9 826 participants, which is 43% of the total field.
Other interesting statistics include the following:
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Of last year’s top 10 men in the 56km, eight have re-entered.┬áIn the women’s race, seven of the top 10 have re-entered.┬á The Nurgalieva twins have confirmed their entries for 2011 and the defending men’s champion from Lesotho, Mabhutile Lebopo, will be lining up on race day.┬áThe increased prize money in the ultra seems to have attracted great interest from top runners, with a large contingent of Ethiopian runners coming to participate.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á In the half-marathon, six of last year’s top 10 in the men have re-entered and Lusapho April will be back to defend his title.┬áIn the women’s race, five of last year’s top 10 have entered, including last year’s winner and course record holder Rene Kalmer.┬áOther names to watch are Helalia Johannes of Namibia and national half-marathon Irvette van Blerk.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á 1 269 runners or 5.6% of the total field will be coming from outside the borders of South Africa.┬á 77 different countries will be taking part, with the United Kingdom recording the biggest contingent of runners with 459 participants.┬á There are 275 runners coming from Germany, and 184 from the USA.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á 69 runners will receive their light blue number for completing 10 half marathons, while 123 runners participating in the 21km have their light blue number already.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á 208 runners will get their blue number for completing 10 ultras.┬á1 004 runners participating in the 56km have their blue number already.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á In the 56km, 75% of the field are men and 25% are women.┬á35% of the ultra field will be doing the race for the first time.┬á68% of the ultra field comes from outside the Western Cape.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á In the half-marathon 50% of the field are men and 50% are women.┬áJust over half the field (54%) are novices and will be doing the race for the first time.┬á 41% of this total field comes from outside of the Western Cape.┬á 56% will be running in a temporary license so are not a member of a club.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Administrative entries constitute 17.2% of the total entries received, which means that 82.8% of the participants entered online.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á The three biggest Western Province club entries come from Varsity Old Boys with 423 runners, Celtic Harriers with 258 runners and iTheko with 191 runners in both races combined.┬á Rand Athletic Club from Gauteng has 359 entries for both races.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Just under R200 000 (R199 545) has been raised for the event’s official charity Bobs for Good Foundation, with the race entry auctions fetching an additional R56 000, which will go towards helping to put locally made leather school shoes on the feet of needy learners around the country.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á This week Old Mutual launched a new campaign that will see the financial services company match every rand donated by the public to Bobs for Good in a quest to raise R1-million for the charity and to get everyone to run for more than themselves on 23 April.
┬À┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á 38 runners in the 21.1km and 42 runners in the 56km will celebrate their birthday on race day.