The one medal I EARNED!
So it finally arrived, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon weekend consisting of the International Friendship Run, a 5k that measured 6.3k along the waterfront and around the stadium with running legend Haile Gebrselassie, fun runs with the kids around the University of Cape Town fields, two trail runs, the rerouted but still picturesque ultra and the half.
But to start, despite the parking garage at the convention centre being a disaster, the Expo itself was excellent. The staff were all friendly and very helpful and, even though I had not completed by International Friendship Run (IFR) signup (I hadn’t chosen a t-shirt size), my number was found and I was given everything needed for the runs. The Two Oceans race magazine was superb, very informative and a good read and the adidas sponsored OMTOM clothing line was so good I had to purchase both top and shorts on top of the IFR and Half t-shirts also made by adidas. The goody bag was also excellent and crammed.
There are a few things I would include, rather than change, but they are minor and would only add to the sheer awesomeness of a race I would love to come back to:
- The route maps on the website need to improve! A simple map with distances would work where the site has a relief map or an angled satellite view and written driving directions.
- I would consider adding a video drive through of the courses. For the Rock n Roll Dublin races they videoed the route from a motorcycle and it was clear for runners to visualise the run.
- The phone app, if there was one, I didn’t use. I did for Dublin and Paris. The Dublin one also included the motorcycle drive through, maps, and everything that was on their website.
- The IFR didn’t have a medal when even the fun runs did. I think all runs should. Even the Rock n Roll fun runs have rubber versions of the medals from the main races.
- Add a marathon distance. That was my biggest bone of contention. While the history of the ultra is there for all to read about, a full 42.2km marathon would attract a bigger field and more famous names, especially in a part of the season that includes other more illustrious races like the London Marathon.
- Sort out the parking at the Expo. 3 floors were empty and you were directed to the roof level to bake your car, and then they would only let you out on the N1 going away from the city. It was unnecessary.
- Please ensure ALL countries taking part in the IFR have a flag. The UK has one of the biggest contingents of overseas runners but, because someone has misplaced the Union Jack last year there wasn’t one this year. I was disappointed.
To the races: I ran the IFR the day before the Half and it was good fun. The route from the V&A Waterfront by the sea to Urban Park and back around the stadium was excellent, if a little long. It was 6.3K on my GPS instead of the planned 5K. The Minstrels set the tone and it was good to see such a running legend, not only showing his support but taking part. Personally I was disappointed not to run with the Union Jack, but in the end I represented Malta and loved it. I think everyone had a good time, even though it was very hot and my new shoes and I were not getting on at all.
The Half the next day was again superbly well organised, and supported. The marshals were great and if it hadn’t been for the very early start, the almost incessant hill climbs and my niggling pain from the previous day, I would have had a good run. In the end it was incredibly slow for me, but very enjoyable and thoroughly worth it. I am proud to say I ran that race, despite cramping even before the halfway mark.
I will look at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half medal on my new medal rack (purchased at the Expo) and think that this was the one piece of bling that I feel like I earned.
It was tough, but it was incredible.