18 & 19 April 2014
With a combined total of close to 22 000 finishers across the ultra, the half marathon, two trail runs and the various fun runs, the Old Mutual Two Oceans is one of the biggest running events in South Africa.
The 41st Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and 13th Half Marathon were run in ideal cool, overcast running conditions and this year’s event really was a family affair. The ultra saw sisters and brothers battle it out for the top positions, something one seldom hears of in a top-level race.
The well-known Nurgalieva twin sisters from Russia dominated the women’s ultra, and for the first time in the event’s history, the men’s race also saw Mabuthile Lebopo of Lesotho and his younger brother Warinyane battle it out in the lead bunch.
It was Mabuthile who proved strongest on the day, breaking clear with two countrymen on the Constantia Nek climb and racing home for the win in 3:06:18, the fourth-fastest Two Oceans time ever. Moeketsi Mosuhli and Teboho Sello completed the Lesotho clean sweep of the podium, while the younger Lebopo had to settle for fifth after being caught by the late surge of current Comrades champion Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe.
This time it was Olesya Nurgalieva who proved stronger on the day as she dropped three-time winner Elena at 53km to take her second Two Oceans title in 3:41:53. South African Adinda Kruger recorded the best finish of her career as she finished third.
One of the most outstanding performances in the ultra saw 52-year-old Vladimir Kotov set a new world best of 2:58:18 for 50km for the 50-59 age category along the way, as he sped home in 3:19:48 to finish 17th overall. That saw the three-time Comrades winner from Belarus not only win the 40-49 age category, which he had elected to run in, but he also shattered Titus Mamebola’s 18-year-old 50-59 record, taking nearly 10 minutes off the longstanding mark.
The highlight of the half marathon was Rene Kalmer taking 37 seconds off the women’s course record as she finally claimed the title after finishing second in a previous run. She broke the tape in 1:12:39, but had to work hard for the win as Irvette van Blerk chased her all the way, also dipping under the old record as she smashed her personal best time by 2 minutes 46 seconds. The men’s title went to Lusapho April in 1:03:54, with Zimbabwean Kalvin Pangiso crossing the line just five seconds adrift.