Article by David Ashworth
8 time OMTOM finisher. 6h37 Comrades Marathon. Founder of Born 2 Run Athletics Club and B2R Joburg Chairperson.
The idea of running silver at Two Oceans Ultra Marathon can be terrifying but a real test for competitive athletes. I have run Bronze, Sainsbury and Silver at Two Oceans and can honestly say that the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is one of the toughest races to achieve a silver medal finish in. Possibly even more of a challenge than achieving Comrades silver. Still, it has to be my favourite run of the year. The ocean, mountains and time away from Jo’burg is always a plus!
The keys to running silver at Two Oceans Ultra Marathon are;
- Lining up at the start having done the correct training (and taper).
- Being fully committed to breaking the 4-hour barrier and following the correct pacing on race day.
[bctt tweet=”an average of 4min 16sec per km will give you a finishing time of 3:59min #2oceansmarathon”]
In order to be running silver at Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, you need to run close to 4 minutes per kilometre throughout the race. To be precise, an average of 4min 16sec per kilometre will give you a finishing time of 3:59min.
While this may sound completely possible for the racing snakes, maintaining a consistent pace after completing a marathon in 2:53 is pretty tough. From 42km there is a substantial amount of climbing before hitting the grass at the finish.
My key tips from the time the cannon fires are;
- Maintaining a quick relaxed pace is important.
- If you live at higher altitude like I do, it is easy to get carried away in the running and go out too fast because you do tend to feel fresh and the pace is almost too easy. Beware of this because it can come back and bite you!
- Be disciplined and stick to the plan – don’t go too fast, no matter how good you are feeling.
The first tough stretch you will encounter is Little Chappies around 30km into the race. It’s a steep climb through the toll gate and onto Chapman’s Peak drive. After the climb, the welcome view of the coastline takes your mind off the road.
Chapman’s Peak drive is an undulating stretch until you plummet from 36km down into Hout Bay. Once again, check your pace. The steep downhill can trash your legs for the climb you are about to start.
The crowds along the flat stretch through Hout Bay lift your spirits and will give you the boost you need as you head towards the marathon mark. Gradually, the road gets steeper and you will be running uphill through the 42.2km mark.
Remember to glance at your watch to check that you are making good time. Just a few kilometres further, you make your way up Constantia Nek. If you have paced yourself correctly, you should have no problem running the whole way up, passing runners as you go.
Once you hit the traffic circle at Southern Cross Drive, you know that the worst is over. Take a breath and cruise the undulating section to the M3. You now have less than 3km to the finish. Remember to save something for the slight bumps along this stretch!
If you are going for running silver at Two Oceans Ultra Marathon this year, best of luck! Believe in yourself!