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Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town (South Africa), 03/04/2010


Coast to Coast

56 Km at the Cape of Good Hope


The Run and The View:  On Chapman's peak drive approaching Hout Bay.


Where late Losers become Heroes:
Who doesn't make it until cutoff gets standing ovations by the crowd.
After 7:01:54 hrs this finishing lady was denied a medal.


The Two Oceans Marathon has its roots as a training run, however since long it has become an outstanding and famous event itself. Originally intended to prepare runners for the renowned Comrades Ultra Marathon, the Two Oceans now celebrates its 41th edition and equals its elder brother in popularity. Modestly the Two Oceans calls itself a "marathon" - not uncommon in South Africa where the event calendar boasts of races exceeding the regular 26 miles. Running is a serious kind of sports in the country - and it's sort of different what might be demonstrated by the following report.

Nightly Start:

It's no race for late risers.
The starter's gun sounds at 6.25 am,
on Easter Saturday.

Do you spot anything peculiar with Frank's shoes?


More than 8,000 runners qualified for running the ultra distance of 56km (35 miles).

11,000 runners already had left for the half marathon 25 minutes before.

There is no chip mat at the start. Only gun time is taken. The advantage: Those who overtake are really at the front.
Digital clocks along the route show the time valid for every runner.

Crack of dawn:

At 7 am the morning breaks.

The beginning miles don't make a show of natural outstanding beauty spots. There is time for the runners to concentrate on themselves and pick up the personal speed.


Temperature is fairly low today, rising during the day up to just over 20c.

Alas there was a light drizzle at the start and now we are moving through a wet fog. The conditions make it easy to warm-up.


Bibs can be read like a runner's diary. A blue number signifies that the runner has completed at least 10 Two Oceans within cutoff time! It's also shown how many one did. The two chaps pictured here have done more than 30!

Each runners wears to BIBs, front and back. The number shows one's age group. Anyway most club runners have badges stitched on their shirts to tell their age group. As you see: It's not a fun run.

Even blue number veterans have to qualify each year by a sub 5 hrs marathon to be accepted again.

Sea View:

10 miles into the race runners get to the first coast line: The Indian Ocean. Route profile still is conveniently flat.

Welcome to Fishhoek:

Runners pass the half marathon mark and  approach the first noticable ascent.

At 25km the first cutoff point is threatening. If you don't pass it at 9.28 am, run time 3.03 hrs, you'll be disqualified and not allowed to proceed.

Drink Station:

Provioning is consistent along the whole distance. One is able to drink without a gap. Here it's coke in small plastic bottles.

More drinks:

Water and Powerade is provide in 200ml tubes that can be handled easily.

Later on you get baked potatoes and ice cream.

Dream Road:

After 28km the route gets to the leg that the organisers let slobber of "The world's most beautiful Marathon".

Chapman's Peak Drive is built into the preciptous cliffs along the Atlantic coast.

Cape Rhythm:

Countless bands entertain runners and spectators along the route. African music gets tired muscles vital again.

Make New Friends ...

... is Cape Town's tourism slogan. Here it comes true. Overseas runners can be identified by orange bibs. One can also spot their country while South African wear a green bib.

Enjoyable small talk is practised gladly. A pleasant behaviour going back to British roots.

Sea Miles:

View of Kommetjie Bay, Atlantic Ocean.

Long Ascent:

180 meters of height difference have to be climbed along the distance of 5km at  Chapman's Peak Drive.

Hout Bay:

The coast line of Hout Bay can already be seen, but it's still 3km away.


The Cutoff at marathon point is at 11.37am, after running time of 5.12 hrs.

Therefore one shouldn't take too much time tasting the ice cream.

Mountain Pass:

The route's highest point is reached after 46km at Constantia Nek. A climb of 215 meters has to be done at the distance of  4km. However one should not presume that climbing is finished now...

Anyway, at the peak it's time to celebrate. In front of the camera the atmosphere gets to its peak as well.


Frank has already crossed the finish line while your author is trotting on at  9min/mile speed.


No reason to hang the head!
With a sub 5 finish these runners are well among the first thousand finishers.


Many drop down to the University meadow and draw a deep breath.

Final Spurt after 35 miles:

These heroes do make it! Clock is 6:58 hours ...

We cheer them while enjoying our overseas buffet in the tent.

In previous years cutoff time actually was 6 hours. Later it changed to 6.30 hrs and now it's more human 7 hours.



The organisers words are unmistakable.
So Frank has to take his time himself ...

Luckily and nonetheless he gets his well earned beautiful  "Sainsbury Medal".
Each hour there is a different medal for the finishers. Sub 6 it's the bronze one,
sub 7 there is the blue one, and from 7 on there is only a backslapping ...





Two Oceans Marathon Official Website
Race Date: Easter Saturday

Wikipedia: Two Oceans Marathon

Cape Town Tourism



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