the world's most beautiful marathon
Running is, decidedly, infectious! My first long distance race happened after a friend invited me to run the 1995 Toronto half marathon while living in Canada. Following this, the bug bit and I ran other half marathons in New York and Lyon.
I returned to South Africa and settled in Cape Town, where I quickly learned that you cannot fully call yourself a Capetonian without having run at least one Two Oceans Marathon. Despite having gone from 1h37 in 1995 to an average of 1h50, with a couple of hard ones making me go slightly beyond the 2hr mark, I have never looked back!
Needless to say I have participated in a number of other 21km races all over the Cape and the Peninsula, in places like Pniel, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Knysna, but the Two Oceans half marathon, arguably the most beautiful of them all, has since become an annual ‘must do’ for me.
I fell in love with this race not only because of the beauty of its route, but also – perhaps even especially – because of the many people who wake up early in the morning to cheer the runners on. The runners’ have their names printed on their race numbers, which makes it easy for people, spectators and runners alike, to call strangers by name and cheer them on as they run by. This, I have found, brings magic to participating in the Two Oceans events.
This year I’ll be doing my 9th Two Oceans half marathon, with my sights firmly set on my 10th in 2013; so I’m actually looking over the new 2012 hill – Edinburg Drive – determined to finish my 10th next year. The big prize is the light blue number accolade then, one day, the 21 Club! And, who knows, I might even try the ultra marathon someday soon!
Being involved over the past year and a half with the team that organises the world’s most beautiful marathon, has been totally enriching. I remain impressed by the enthusiasm that runs through the veins of everyone involved, from board members nominated by Western Province Athletics (WPA) and different athletic clubs in the Western Cape, to the office team and the people who make up the event’s Local Organising Committee (LOC).
The Two Oceans brand has also grown in leaps and bounds over the years. It has become very recognisable and, now successfully attracts runners from South Africa, other parts of the African continent, Europe and North America. A growing list of sponsors is showing interest in associating their brands with that of the Two Oceans Marathon and in contributing, together with the runners, to the charitable causes linked to it.
An exciting development in this regard is the establishment of the Two Oceans Marathon Initiative (TOMI), a vehicle that will enable our beautiful running event to contribute to deserving causes linked, primarily, with athletic development in our country.
I cannot wait to be part of the 2012 Easter Weekend vibe and to meeting many more of our friendly runners – ultra/half marathon, trail runs, kiddies’ runs on Friday 6th April – and their supporters and, like each year, to reading about the great running experiences that all participants will have had after this year’s event.