Biggest field ever for Two Oceans Marathon
The biggest half marathon field in the history of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon will line up at the start in Main Road, Newlands on April 23.
Just over 14 000 runners have entered the event with more than 2 000 hopefuls turned away. The previous record field was 13 221 in 2009, before entries were limited in order to avoid major congestion on the route.
Some 13 501 of this record field are from South Africa, 249 from Africa and 269 are from overseas. Also, 120 runners have already run the race over ten times and hold their permanent blue numbers, while 68 will be doing their tenth run this year.
More than half the field (54%) are novices and will run the half marathon for the first time, while 49% are female and 51% are male, and 96% of the half marathon participants entered online.
Another interesting statistic is the half marathon field has contributed R90 000 towards the official race charity, Bobs for Good, which means 900 school children from underprivileged backgrounds will get a new pair of South African made leather school shoes.
"The response to this race has been incredible and our office is inundated with calls on a daily basis from people looking for half marathon entries. We had to allow for additional entries over the initial 11 500 benchmark in order to accommodate the demand and did so in consultation with the City of Cape Town," said Rowyn James, race director.
James said the event office was currently in ongoing negotiations with various medical partners to ensure the medical facilities available to the race and the runners were upgraded accordingly to manage the increased numbers. This included the addition of mini hospitals out on the route and at the finish at UCT.
The race office is also investigating ways to alleviate congestion at the start in terms of parking and will unveil their transport plan with park and ride facilities closer to race date.
"As with any big road running event, congestion on the route is a given. City marathons such as New York and London attract fields of close to 40 000 and the routes are congested for most of the 42 kilometres but it adds to the race atmosphere.
"The World Cup proved that we can handle large crowds and as long as it's managed correctly, our event will be a huge success," added James.
Those runners who missed out on a half marathon entry can still bid for one online as part of a major fundraising initiative for the Bobs for Good Foundation.
The online auction opened on February 3 and entries have been going for around R1 700. Interested participants can post their bid at www.oldmutual.co.za/twooceansmarathon.
The auction runs for 20 days until February 23, with one entry awarded to the highest bidder of each day. Winners will be announced the day after each bid.
Winning bids will also receive a PUMA product voucher worth R1 500 and their race entry includes an 'A' seeding.
All funds raised through the auction will go towards Bobs for Good, a local non-profit organisation, established out of the need to restore dignity and pride to underprivileged learners by giving them a new pair of South African made leather school shoes valued at R100 each.