Gebrselassie eager to run Two Oceans
Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia says he is interested in running the Two Oceans Marathon – and he wants to do it soon.
"I know what goes on in Cape Town. I know about the Two Oceans Marathon," Gebrselassie said in a video message at the launch of the 2013 race in Cape Town on Thursday night.
"One day I will come to run this race, and that means soon."
Gebreselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 10 000 metres, was revealed as an ambassador for the annual 56km ultra-marathon and 21km half-marathon, which will next year be held under the slogan "Two Oceans, One Spirit".
Foreign athletes have dominated the 56km race, which was first held in 1970, in recent years, with only two South African men – Bethuel Netshifhefhe in 2007 and George Ntshiliza in 2011 – winning the ultra-marathon in the last nine editions of the event.
No local woman has won the 56km race since Sarah Mahlangu in 2000, though South Africans have dominated both men's and women's half-marathons since the inaugural 21km race in 1998.
Race director Rowyn James said there would be an increase in prize money for the half-marathon, and they expected it to become the "richest" 21km race in the country, along with a sliding scale for time incentives.
"The faster the time, the higher the money," James said.
The organisers said the entry and qualification process had changed, with the first 10 000 half-marathon entries only open to previous Two Oceans trail, ultra- or half-marathon runners from November 1.
From January 15, an additional 6 000 entries would be opened to all other interested runners.
The ultra-marathon entries would open on September 20, with manual entries set to close on February 20, while on-line entrants would have until March 5, or earlier if the 11 000 cap was reached before those dates.
The qualification period had been stretched to run from July 1, 2012, to March 5, 2013.