Two Oceans Permit approved. Mokoka not running.
It's been a nervous few days for thousands of runners after news emerged that the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon may not go ahead as planned this weekend, because the organisers did not have a permit. Several news sources reported that the world's most beautiful ultra marathon was under threat of cancellation following complaints from religious groups who questioned why the race and associated road closures had been given the green light to go ahead on the religious holiday of Easter Sunday and not just the traditional date of Easter Saturday.
#TheTopRunner has learnt that churches, specifically those affected by the road closures in the Fish Hoek areas voiced their disapproval with the City of Cape Town once they discovered that the Two Oceans Marathon NPC had sought to run their race over two days (21km on Saturday and 56km on Sunday) and not just one day as it was in the past. Although the new date had been done with the City's knowledge to prevent one large mass gathering on one day, it seems not all the affected parties were adequately consulted - hence the pending permit approval.
But after days of negotiation, the TOM NPC won their battle with the help of Western Province Athletics. The permit was issued at about 15H30 yesterday (Wednesday 13 April) afternoon, which paves the way for the much loved event to go ahead for the first time since 2019. Runners can breathe a huge sigh of relief, particularly those who will be looking to claim the R25 000 prize for winning Saturday's half marathon.
Reigning champion Elroy Gelant is clear - he wants to defend his title. But he will experience tough competition from fellow Olympians Desmond Mokgobu and Sibusiso Nzima. However, SA Half Marathon record holder (59:36) Stephen Mokoka is not running as previously reported. After setting a new 50km World Record in early March, Mokoka says he is preparing for the World Championships in Oregon which prevents him from taking part in Two Oceans.
"I have to clarify something about the upcoming weekend, I am not taking part at Two Oceans as I have been on rest. I just started training a week ago, my next race will be in July at the World Championships. My team did entry for me, so I understand what the stories were based on," said the Boxer Athletic Club top runner.