26 Sep, 2012

Wave of Records at Two Oceans

Wave of Records at Two Oceans

Record #1: Stephen Doubles Up

Triple Comrades champion Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe became only the second male runner to hold both the Comrades and Two Oceans ultra-marathon titles at the same time, thus equalling the record held by Derek Preiss since 1974, and only the third male runner ever to win both races. Derek won both the ultras in 1974 and again in 1975, and if Stephen can retain his Comrades title in June, he will also match Derek’s feat of winning both races in the same calendar year. The only other runner to have won both is Fusi Nhlapo, who won the Two Oceans in 1998 and the Comrades in 2003.

Having stayed with the leaders most of the race, Stephen took the lead at 52km, then accelerated up ‘Chet’s Hill’ on Union Drive, the last big climb of the race. There was a moment of drama when he slipped and fell in the mud as he turned into the home straight, but after a quick glance backwards, he picked himself up and finished strongly, clocking a new PB of 3:08:08, the 10th fastest time ever for the race.


Before the race, Stephen said, “I want to improve on my 3:09 of last year. Everyone wants to win the race, but I look to improve each year. And if the other runners let me win, then that’s fine.” He sure lived up to those words, but after the race, he made light of his win and equalling Derek’s record: “This is all part of my preparation and build-up for the Comrades. I was going for a good time, and I knew that it was good enough for the win. The conditions suited me. I think I do better in difficult conditions, and I felt strong towards the finish.”


Record #2: Gert Smashes World Best

Possibly the best performance of the day saw SA marathon record-holder Gert Thys (40) smash the world best for 50km in the veteran (40-49) category, clocking 2:48:39 at the intermediate timing mat as he went on to finish fourth in 3:09:42 and also break the veteran course record by almost four minutes. Both these records were held by Vladimir Kotov and were set 12 years ago.


After the race, he mentioned his career-long insulin difficulties and complained that his second could not get onto the course to test his blood sugar levels at three points during the race. “I am certain I would have won if I had been able to correct this at 47km. At the finish my sugar level was much too low. I know a record is possible on this course, but the weather conditions were against us.


He then predicted another record in the near future: “I congratulate Stephen on his win, but I will be back to race him in Comrades. I am going for the record – it is soft and little more than a jog. I will be the first person to run the Comrades in under 5 hours!” (The current Comrades record is 5:20:41, so this year’s elite race should be enthralling to watch!)


Record #3: Elena Equals Monica’s Four

Elena Nurgalieva of Russia became only the second athlete ever to win four Two Oceans titles as she won the women’s race in 3:41:55. The only other runner to have achieved this feat is Monica Dr?gem?ller, who won in 1988 and 1990-92. Elena had been tied on three wins with her twin sister Olesya as well as Bev Malan and Angelina Sephooa. Olesya did not run this year due to injury.


When asked if she had been going for the fourth win and Monica’s record, Elena said winning was her focus, not records. “Yes, I know this legend woman and this year read more information about her in magazines, but for me it was more important to be the winner this year than count how many times I won Two Oceans or Comrades in the past. The rain and wind didn't help us in the race, but all the runners were in the same conditions, and everybody struggled. To tell the truth, for me the temperature was very comfortable, not hot and not cold. I liked it!”


Another Russian, Natalia Volgina, claimed second position, having won the race in 2002 but not run it since 2003. She led much of the race with Elena, but eventually slipped back going up Constantia Nek. It did appear they were working together at times, but Elena refutes this. “I saw her only on the start line and so we hadn't any agreements before the race. Just we passed drinks to each other during the race because we are friends in normal life, but not on the road. Here it is business! But it is always a help to have company and someone to talk to, so I want to thank Natalia.”



1 Stephen Muzhingi (Bluff Meats F1 - ZIM) 3:08:08

2 Henry Moyo (Nedbank RC Int - MAW) 3:08:35

3 Collen Makaza (Nedbank RC Int - ZIM) 3:08:45

4 Gert Thys (Mr Price WPA) 3:09:42

5 Bongumusa Mthembu (Mr Price KZN) 3:10:16

6 Mthandazo Qhina (Nedbank WPA) 3:11:00

7 Tsotang Maine (Toyota RC Int - LES) 3:11:51

8 Lucas Nonyana (Absa Group RC) 3:12:03

9 Odwa Tunyiswa (Nedbank CGA) 3:12:50

10 Kimutai Lezan (Nedbank RC Int - KEN) 3:12:58

40-49: 1 Gert Thys (Mr Price WPA) 3:09:42

50-59: 1 Vladimir Kotov (Century City AC - BLR) 3:32:47

60-69: 1 Sizinzo Kama (Achilles AAA) 4:37:53

70+: 1 Brian Key (Foresters RC) 4:49:33


1 Elena Nurgalieva (Mr Price Int - RUS) 3:41:55

2 Natalia Volgina (Nedbank RC Int - RUS) 3:45:29

3 Devon Crosby-Helms (Nedbank RC Int - USA) 3:47:30

4 Mamorallo Tjoka (Toyota RC Int - LES) 3:48:50

5 Samukeliso Moyo (Mr Price Int - ZIM) 3:49:10

6 Adinda Kruger (Bonitas RC CGA) 3:50:13

7 Lizih Chokore (Nedbank RC Int - ZIM) 3:52:26

8 Ntombesintu Mfunzi (Mr Price EP) 3:52:39

9 Tshifhiwa Mundalamo (Bonitas RC CGA) 3:53:00

10 Paulina Njeya (Toyota AC) 3:53:29

40-49: 1 Ursula Frans (Celtic Harriers) 4:09:53

50-59: 1 Annatjie Botes (Nedbank SWD) 4:34:39

60-69: 1 Hester Kotze (Plexus Durbanville AC) 5:21:43



Record #4: SA’s largest 21KM

With an extended 16 000 entries this year, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon made an even stronger claim on the title of biggest 21km in the country. Granted, the weather probably prompted a number of runners to stay in bed, but over 12 500 made it across the finish line within the three-hour cut-off. South African men and women dominated the top 10 positions in the half marathon, with Xolisa Tyali winning the men’s race and Rene Kalmer crossing the line first amongst the women.


Due to the larger field, the organisers had changed the first half of the course, in order to clear the ultra route quicker ahead of the 56km starting 25 minutes after the 21km, and times were expected to be slower overall due to the inclusion of a big climb in the first three kays. However, while the winning times were slower than previous years, no fewer than six fastest times for the year in SA were run in various age categories, including both the men’s and women’s open categories, so it remains one of the faster courses in the country. And with the rain only beginning about 90 minutes after the start, most of the top runners only had wind to contend with.



1 Xolisa Tyali (Nedbank CGA) 1:04:54

2 Joel Mmone (Nedbank CNW) 1:05:01

3 Lucky Mohale (Mr Price CGA) 1:05:09

4 Tshamano Setone (Mr Price CGA) 1:05:22

5 David Manya (Nedbank) 1:05:50

40-49: 1 Graham Katzen (Celtic Harriers) 1:12:50

50-59: 1 Raymond Howard (Celtic Harriers) 1:21:36

60-69: 1 Clive Owen (Edgemead Runners) 1:25:30

70+: 1 Chris van Coller (Acsis VOB) 2:02:45

Juniors: 1 Xolisa Melane (Nedbank WPA 1:14:49


1 Ren? Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 1:15:02

2 Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank CGA) 1:16:22

3 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank RC Int - ZIM) 1:18:30

4 Zintle Xiniwe (Nedbank WPA) 1:19:39

5 Christine Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 1:20:05

40-49: 1 Janene Carey (Boxer Superstores AC) 1:25:37

50-59: 1 Olga Howard (Celtic Harriers) 1:37:51

60-69: 1 Ria Donnoli (Collegians Harriers) 1:53:06

70+: 1 Willemien Smuts (Bloemfontein Achilles) 1:57:00

Juniors: 1 Jessica Pollock (UCT) 1:27:17