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Home >> History >> 2010's


Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon History | 2010's

Saturday 3 April saw the running of the 41st Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in ideal running conditions. The race was yet another special one drawing a record field of just over 20 000 participants. We were honoured to have the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, start both races on Easter Saturday and to share the day with us.

2010 was a watershed year for South Africa and saw the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Coupled with this, road running enjoyed a boom with participation figures on the increase across the country over all distances. The 56km ultra event had 2 000 more participants than last year and was one of biggest field in the event’s history. Of the 8 831 ultra runners, 30% of them ran it for the first time.

The race started in cool conditions, with a slight drizzle sifting down from the grey clouds enveloping Table Mountain. These perfect running conditions saw a foreign brigade once again dominate the ultra, taking the top 9 positions and producing a titanic duel between three Lesotho runners. Lesotho athlete Mabuthile Lebopo led home the foreign-laden top 10 in 3:06:18, the fastest winning time since 2005. The tiny mountain country of Lesotho, which is entirely enclosed by South Africa, filled the first three positions and had five runners in the first ten.

Olesya Nurgalieva took the honours in the woman's race in 3:41:53, with her twin sister Elena settling for second spot just over 100 metres adrift in 3:42:19. Although this was the twins' slowest win and Olesya's second victory, the pair have never finished lower than fourth over a seven year period, highlighting the dominance they have in the event. Only two runners not named Nurgalieva have won in the past seven years.

Lushapo April won the half marathon edging out Kalvin Pangiso on the run into the UCT field to take the tape in 1:03:54. Zimbabwean, Pangiso was only 30 metres adrift at the tape in a race that saw the top six athletes dip under 65 minutes. In the women’s half marathon, René Kalmer broke the course record by 37 seconds with her 72:39, but she was chased hard by Irvette van Blerk, who finished only 16 seconds behind.

2010 saw the introduction of a trail run to further enhance the event and make it a fully inclusive festival of running. Runners could choose either an 8 or 18km and the interest was overwhelming. Entries were limited to 400 in each distance and both were sold out within a few weeks of entries opening.

The 2011 event saw a record field of close to 23 000 runners line up on Easter Saturday for the ultra and half marathon in perfect running weather. 14 147 runners took part in the half marathon, making it the biggest field in the event’s history and in South Africa, with the ultra attracting 8 645 entries. This truly Capetonian event attracted over 30 000 participants across all the different events.  

George Ntshiliza became the first South African ultra winner since 2007, when he sprinted to the closest finish in years and a cheque for R250 000. He ended a run of three victories by other African countries, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Lesotho respectively, as he crossed the finish line at UCT in 3:08:31 after 56 thrilling kilometres. In the women’s race the Nurgalieva twins from Russia dominated yet again, with Olesya winning her third Two Oceans title to go with her wins in 2008 and 2010, plus a cheque for R250 000. She and sister Elena now have three wins apiece.

This year Lusapho April defended his men’s half marathon title in 1:03:58, and Helalia Johannes of Namibia held off South Africa’s Irvette van Blerk by eight seconds to win the women’s race in a new course record of 1:11:56.

The trail run on Good Friday morning saw just over 1 000 runners take on a tough, challenging 22km or 10km on the mountain trails of Devil’s Peak and Newlands Forest above the University of Cape Town (UCT). In only its second year, the trail event sold all 1 000 entries in just 23 hours of entries opening and the 14 000 entry slots for the 21km were sold out in just two months, with the last 2 000 entries snapped up in just 36 hours!

This year’s fun runs on Good Friday attracted close to 4 800 participants over the various distances, which included a 56m nappy dash for kids, 300m toddlers’ trot, 2.5km and 5km fun runs. These fun runs are all about family and giving people a chance to experience the amazing event spirit.

Close to 1 000 international participants gathered at the V&A Waterfront for the International Friendship Run (IFR) – a scenic 5km run/walk through Cape Town, past some of the City’s famous landmarks that included the Cape Town Stadium, Sea Point Promenade, Green Point Park and Mouille Point Lighthouse.

Runners from all over the world got into the event spirit with their family and friends, jogging with the flags from their various countries. They were treated to the warm South African hospitality and got to see what makes this city so special.

Just over 1 300 runners came from outside South Africa’s borders to take part in either the ultra or half marathon, with 77 different countries represented. This year the United Kingdom sent the biggest contingent of runners, with Germany and the United States also well represented.

2011 saw the successful introduction of RaceTec, the event’s new electronic timing partner who will be on board for the next five years. This brings two iconic Cape Town events together as RaceTec is owned and managed by Cape Town Cycle Tour and used at many mass timed events around the country.

A strategic decision was also taken by the Two Oceans Marathon Association (TOMA) to bring the IT component in-house, resulting in a comprehensive IT system rewrite and a new, more user-friendly online entry system.

An overhauled and improved medical plan was introduced for this year’s event, with Netcare 911, the medical sponsor working very closely with the Western Cape Provincial Government Emergency Metro Services to ensure that all the participants received the best possible medical attention and care during the event.

Diarise 7 April 2012 for the 43rd running of the world’s most beautiful marathon…see you there!

A record field of close to 26 000 runners, including the defending champions and over 1 500 international runners, will line up for this year’s event.  The 56km ultra marathon has attracted a field of just under 9 200, making it the fourth biggest in the event’s history.  The largest field was in 2004, when the race made a welcome return to Chapman’s Peak and attracted 9 769 runners.

Entries for the half marathon opened in November and 8 000 entries were received in just two days. Five days later the entries were at 11 000 and the 16 000 mark was reached in less than two weeks. These 16 000 runners will get to experience the new route over Edinburgh Drive, and be a part of the biggest half marathon in the country and in Africa. The route has been changed for the first ten kilometers and participants will make their way from the start in Main Road to the M3, up Edinburgh Drive, which will not only provide spectacular views out over Muizenberg and one ocean, but also help to alleviate some of the congestion experienced at the start. From the M3 runners will meet up with the old route in Constantia.

The trail run also broke all previous records with the 800 entries going in just under three hours. This is the third year the trail run is being held and it’s becoming a “must do” event on the calendar.

Of last year’s top 10 men in the 56km, all ten have entered. In the women’s race, five of the top 10 have entered. Only one of the Nurgalieva twins will be competing on race day as defending champion Olesya has pulled out with a week to go due to her pregnancy. Elena has confirmed she will definitely be taking part. The men’s defending champion George Ntshiliza, will be lining up on race day. In the 21km, six of last year's top 10 in the men have entered and Lusapho April will be back to defend his title. Six of last year’s top 10 have also entered in the women’s race. However last year’s winner and course record holder Helalia Johannes, will not be back to defend her title.

A record field of athletes lined up at the start of the 2013 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in cold and windy conditions, although the rain that marked the previous event did not make an appearance. Novice runner David Gatebe beat a highly competitive field at the 44th Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in a time of 03:08:54.

Second place went to Nedbank runner Mthandazo Qhina (03:10:02), who competed in his fourth Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, while Moeketsi Mosuhli (03:10:23) from Lesotho claimed third place.

For the first time since 2007, the Russian twins – Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva – could not achieve a win, with compatriot Natalia Volgina winning in a time of 03:38:38, just over a minute ahead of second place Thabita Tsatsa from Zimbabwe and third place ultra marathon novice Charne Bosman.

In the Half Marathon race, both the Men’s and Ladies winners established new course records despite the windy conditions. Stephen Lesego Mokoka (Team Transnet) won the Men’s race in a time 01:03:36, beating Lusapho April (Oxford Striders) and Joel Mmone (Nedbank Development) to the finish.

In the Ladies race, Ethiopian runner Biru Meseret Mengista stormed to victory in a time of 01:12:43, shaving more than two minutes off the course record, set last year by Rene Kalmer, who managed to take second place. Third place in the ladies 21km went to Irvette van Blerk.

In 2013, the Half Marathon attracted another maximum field, with just over 16 000 participants taking part - more than half of them were women. The Ultra Marathon attracted a record field of over 10 000 entrants, making it the biggest-ever entry field for the Ultra Marathon in the event’s history, a testament to its global reputation as the world’s most beautiful marathon.

The Half Marathon is the biggest in the country and broke all entry records when entries closed in just four days. The Trail Run also set entry records of its own as all 800 entries were bought in under three hours. This was the fourth year the trail run was being held and it has become a “must do” event on the trail running calendar.

For the first time, the Expo was hosted at the inspirational Cape Town International Convention Centre, where runners and sports enthusiasts could experience the latest in sports equipment, fashion, nutrition and health.

2013 marked the 14th year of the partnership with naming-rights sponsor Old Mutual, whose support has helped make this event one of the top marathons in the world, and new technical sponsor adidas signed a three-year deal.

Lesotho runner, Lebenya Nkoka from team Maxed Elite, won the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in a time of 03:09:52. 

Second place went to veteran Hendrick Ramaala (Nedbank), who ran his first Two Oceans Ultra in a time of 03:11:33, while Masilo Matjiane from Lesotho crossed the finish line in 03:12:00, taking the third position.

In the ladies’ race, it was third time lucky for Russian champ Nina Podnebesnova, who finally achieved a win after coming 5th in 2013 and 2011 respectively.  She crossed the finish line in a time of 03:40:07, three minutes ahead of Ethiopian Shitaye Debellu (03:43:37).

For the second year, Russian twins Elena and Olesya Nurgalieva couldn’t perform as they had hoped, with the sisters battling flu. Elena took third place in a time of 03:43:59, with Olesya only managing 6th place.

In the Half Marathon race, athletes battled windy conditions from start to finish.  Defending champion Stephen Mokoka (Team Transnet) won the men’s race in 01:04:16 – almost a minute slower than his 2013 time – beating Joel Mmone (Nedbank) and Sibabalwe Mzazi (Team Transnet) to the finish.

The ladies’ race belonged to Lebo Phalula (Maxed Elite), who comfortably ran to victory in a time of 01:14:00.  Rene Kalmer came second in 01:14:23, with Gezashigh Gemeda of Ethiopia taking third in 01:15:02.

A record field of athletes lined up for a windy and chilly start at the 2014 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. Despite the cold start, the heat and wind contributed to a slower Ultra Marathon, which resulted in a record number of athletes completing the Ultra in between six and seven hours.

The wind also contributed to a slower Half Marathon.

Title Sponsor Old Mutual had originally offered a R1-million prize to the male and female runner to break the Ultra Marathon records.  But as Easter Saturday drew to a close, the 1988 and 1989 records established by Thompson Magawana and Frith van der Merwe respectively, remained in place for another year. 

The Half Marathon once again reached its entry capacity of 16 000, while, for the first time, the Ultra Marathon sold out before the official entries closing date.  The Trail Runs also set entry records, when the 10km sold out in a matter of minutes, and the 22km Trail Run in around two hours.

The Expo returned to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where runners and sports enthusiasts could experience the latest in sports equipment, fashion, nutrition and health.

2014 marked the 15th year of the partnership with naming-rights sponsor Old Mutual, whose support has helped make this event one of the top marathons in the world, while adidas celebrated their 2nd anniversary as technical sponsor.