Tanith Maxwell (Boxer) will be hoping there is truth in the saying about third time lucky when she lines up to race the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra-race on Saturday.
The previous two years she finished second. Caroline Wöstmann (KPMG) was victorious on both occasions with Amelewark Fikadu Bosho (Nedbank RC) racing to two consecutive third place finishes.
All good things come to an end. It would seem as if there will definitely be a change of guards on Saturday as the Ethiopian runner opted not to race while Lindsey Parry (coach) said Wöstmann is not in the same form she was last year. He actually tips Maxwell to win.
“I think Tanith paid her dues as an ultra-racer which means she will be hard to beat. One can never discount Caroline. She has proved me wrong in the past. The biggest mistake her rivals could make is to allow her to dictate the pace. If they do she is going to win,” said Parry (Tuks/HPC head coach)
Parry reckons Jenna Challenor (KPMG), who ran a best time of 34:25 in the Cape Town SPAR 10km Challenge and the Brit, Tish Jones (KPMG), who won last year’s Cape Town Marathon in a time of 2:36:13 are two athletes who have the ability to cause an upset. All though a lack of ultra-racing might snooker them.
It will always be a mistake to discount the athletes from Zimbabwe and the other African countries.
Marina Damantsevich the Bello-Russian who will run in the colours of Nedbank Running Club is another athlete to watch. She competed in last year’s Olympic marathon in Rio and boasts with a best time of 2:30:07.
The Two Oceans Half-marathon could be a humdinger. Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank RC) is the defending champion and up to two weeks ago it would have been hard to imagine that she won’t defend her title but in road running there is never a done deal. The 39-year old Louisa Leballo (Nedbank RC) proved it by out sprinting Van Zyl in the last kilometre to win the Cape Town SPAR 10km.
Nobody, but nobody, expected the 39 year old to win. There is a good reason for it. For the past four years Leballo has been hampered by serious knee-injuries. That led to her sort of disappearing from the local road running scene. It was a case of now and again you would see her race but her results were nothing to get excited about.
Many an athlete would have contemplated just to quit and get on with life but that was never an option for Leballo as running is her passion.
“It was really my faith that kept me going when I was really down and out as an athlete. Another reason why I never contemplate to quit was because I still had some unfinished business on the road.”
Parry who also coaches Van Zyl said if she wants to win she will have to make sure that Leballo is not close to her in the final two kilometres.
“Louisa has got one of the best sprints so if she is with the leaders she will be hard to beat.”
According to Parry it won’t just be about winning for Van Zyl.
“I want Irvette to race internationally. The only way she will get to do so is by running really fast times. So if nobody is prepared to make the racing on Saturday Irvette will up the pace even at risk of losing the race. Finishing third in a fast time is more important to us than winning in a slow time.”