Race Review: The Two Oceans Half Marathon

The Two Oceans Half Marathon (finally!)…
 
So it was finally here, the Two Oceans marathon weekend in Cape Town. I cannot even remember when I signed up for this one, probably on the day the event opened, so this has been a long time coming.
As an international blogger for the Two Oceans I have been thinking about this race weekend more than any other. I have had to. And, as the training runs home from work started getting results, in the shape of new personal bests at the 1K, 10K and Half in the month of February alone I though perhaps this would be where I break the mile and 5K too?

The Swag

I didn’t include the swag in the last post as I had already opened it up, but @wesjones22 (who I saw on the route and adds to the growing list of Twitterati runners I have seen worldwide) posted the same pic on Twitter, so I shall snag the swag pic. It was pretty good. The magazine has everything you needed to know about all the races this weekend, parking, etc. Sun visor, deodorants, shaving cream and after shave balm, vouchers, Deep Heat and Ice man, arnica, a bag and the t-shirts I did actually document in the last post. Pretty sizeable swag I think.

 

The Route

I am staying on the other side of Table Mountain, where it is almost always sunny and I can see the sea. The race route is actually completely on the other side and was a hilly venture starting at the Newlands Brewery just down from the University of Cape Town campus, looping through and by valleys and the mountain before heading back to the campus.

The website for the Two Oceans didn’t best show this as a map, instead showing a satellite relief image of it, so I couldn’t really make a call as to where I was on the route.
I will say this though, and it pains me, that the half route isn’t along the waterfront of either of the two oceans. You are in the shadow of the mountain. The ultra is probably the most beautiful marathon in the World, the half is just alright.
How I did?
 
The day started at 4 am! Yes, 4 am as I needed to eat something and the race started at 6 as it would be too hot otherwise. I tried instant oatmeal, but at 4 am my body said “Noooooo!” So a choked down a banana and I drove out to the parking lots by the race start with an energy drink and a Bar One, South Africa’s Mars bar.
Unable to eat I was also in bits after yesterdays International Friendship Run when much vaunted Adidas Ultra Boosts destroyed my feet. So I resorted to the tried and tested Adidas Pure Boosts that had carried me to the recent PBs and hoping yesterdays dinner of brisket and spuds would hold me until breakfast.
After fighting with thousands of others for parking, I joined my corral in pitch darkness and was in a pen that was so cramped no one could stretch or warm up. My normal essential calf, quad and hamstring stretches were going to be missed, a mistake I would later rue because, as we set off to some fan fair, and I got into my pace I soon found that the course was mostly uphill.
The hills were a killer and, as early as the 6th mile my left calf cramped up completely and sent me hobbling off the course and stretching at a tree.
This, naturally, changed my mindset, and I was no longer running to a good time, I was jogging until I felt the calf cramp again and then walked for a little giving me my slowest time by 11 minutes. A PW if there is such a thing as a personal worst. But just look at that red line, that was all hill.
It was humid too, running through the wooded areas under the mountain and when it started raining at about mile 10 it was a godsend. Didn’t make the cramp go away though, and am writing this in pieces.

 

The Bling

I have to say I do love this medal. If you win the race you get a gold one, if you run it in an hour and a half you get silver, due to everything I got a bronze one. Still, it was always the one I was going to get, let’s not kid ourselves. Will take pride and place on the rack when home.

In Summary…

The Two Oceans half marathon race weekend includes an International Friendship Run on the beautiful Cape Town waterfront, around the stadium and allows you run with a world champion carrying the flag of your nation (if they have it), a Fun Run for the kids, two trail runs, a half marathon and a 56K ultra. It is superbly organised by an excellent team with an amazing Expo in the city centre.
It is touted as the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon but I am sure that really is about the Ultra. Although the IFR (International Friendship Run) had a lovely view the whole time.
Would I run it again? Probably not the half. I would consider a trail run, but would definitely do the IFR again, despite (and I think there should be) lack of a medal for it, just a token, the fun run at the Dublin RnR even had plastic versions of the metal medals for the fun runners.
If I came back to Cape Town I would probably, in all honesty, come later in the year for the Cape Town 12K or for the CT Half.
Would I recommend it? I would recommend an event. The Ultra is 56K so not much more than a full, it could be a 100K, but those hills are a real challenge. And I guess that is why I am not whining about my slow time. It was a REAL CHALLENGE, not just with the very early start and cramp and rain, the hills made this probably the most challenging run I have ever completed.
I hope there are some good photos of this and the IFR, as it has been an amazing experience coming to SA and seeing what it has to offer.
NEXT UP:

The Two Tunnels 10KBATH, UK09/05/2015

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