The Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra-race will probably boil down to battle between the Nedbank Running Club’s Mike Fokoroni and Collen Makuza.
Fokoroni (Zimbabwe) was last year’s winner while Makuza (Zimbabwe) has certainly been the most consistent performer. In 2012 he finished 3rd, in 2013 he was 4th, 2015 2nd and last year 2nd. He has got a best time of 3:08:45 which he ran in 2013. Statistically it might be a good idea to tip Makuza for the win. As they say you cannot keep a good man down forever.
Fokoroni is not non-committal as to his plans for Saturday. Officially he claims that his main aim is to get a good result at Comrades so he is not really focussed on winning the Two Oceans but seconds after having said that he hinted that if the opportunity should arise to race for a second victory he will definitely go for it.
He emphasized that it will be a mistake to think that there are only one or two athletes who could win.
“There are quite a few athletes who can win. It should be remembered that ultra-racing is very unpredictable. Any good race can go bad within minutes if an athlete races without a plan. I got a definite idea of at what pace I am going to start and when I will accelerate. If after 45 kilometres I should realize that I can win again I will definitely go for it.”
There has been a lot of talk about whether it might be possible for any athlete to set a new Two Oceans record. Thompson Magawana set the men’s record in 1988 running 3:03:44 while Frith van der Merwe won in a record time of 3:30:36 in 1989.
Fokoroni thinks it is unfair to talk about records as the organizers chance the course each year.
David Manja (Nedbank Running Club) could be the athlete to beat in the Old Mutual Soweto half-marathon. Since July he has been one of the most consistent performers over 21km. Some of his major victories were winning the Old Mutual Soweto Half-Marathon, Southern Region 21km Championships in Madagascar and the 10km elite men’s race at the South African Cross Country Championships in George.
He was South Africa’s best performer at this year’s IAAF Cross Country World Championships in Kampala finishing 34th.
The one athlete who can spoil Manja’s fun is his teammate, Joel Mmone, who was the second best performer at the World Championships.