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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'It's unprecedented' - 2-day Two Oceans applauded as innovative way to deal with Covid restrictions

Western Province Athletics (WPA) say they fought hard to make sure that the much-loved Two Oceans Marathon returns to the road running calendar. Organisers were forced to cancel the 2020 race less than a month before it was scheduled to take place following the declaration of a the Coronavirus National State of Disaster.

Runners were left high and dry as the Two Oceans Marathon (TOM) NPC decided not to refund entries leading to much speculation about the TOM NPC's financial state and the future of the race when it was cancelled again in Easter 2021. But last week's confirmation that the 2022 edition will go ahead is good news for runners and was made possible by WPA's willingness to think outside the box. That's according to WPA Road Running Chairperson Adnaan Mohamed.

Runners taking on the world's most beautiful ultra marathon during the good ol' days before Covid19. Photo Credit: Two Oceans NPC.

"We are really, really excited," he told #TheTopRunner. "It's unprecedented in the sense that the half marathon will take place on Easter Saturday and the Sunday we will have the ultra marathon. And that's simply because we are in different times now where if we want numbers we have to be innovative in the way we do things," he explained alluded to the limit on mass participation enforced by the Covid-19 lockdown which has remained in effect for over 18 months.

"And one of the requirements from The City of Cape Town is around the numbers. In previous years we used to have like 20 000 participants for the half marathon and 11 000 for the ultra. Obviously under the conditions we have now that won't happen. So that's why they split it over two days so it makes a lot of sense. Two Oceans made that announcement which is really awesome news. It's not just in Cape Town but internationally it's an iconic race so that's why it's important to have certainty on the race date. So from that point of view it's good news," said Mohamed.

WPA Road Running Chairperson Adnaan Mohamed says innovation is required if mass participation road races are to return. Photo Credit: Adnaan Mohamed.

TOM NPC Chairperson William Swartbooi thanked all the stakeholders that fought for the race to return. “We are thrilled to be back on the road after more than 20 months. This has only been made possible by the ongoing support of our partners, Athletics South Africa, the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town and the broader running community,” he said.

The endorsement from WPA means that the race date has now been confirmed and officially placed on the provincial federation's road running fixture list for 2022. The 21,1km race will take place on 16 April, with the 56km set for 17 April 2022 on the traditional routes. The trail run however, has been removed from the programme. Entry dates are yet to be finalised as are the exact number of participants, but with ASA Boss James Moloi confirmed that they are applying to government for a cap of 10 000 at athletics events in 2022.

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