Two Oceans Weekend 2016

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Two Oceans Weekend 2016

I know its Easter, but it felt like Labarang as the Two Oceans weekend had come around once more 🙂

 

And I wasn’t taking any chances either.

 

I’ve just returned from an ankle sprain and was put on a course of antibiotics thanks to a throat infection immediately after CT Cycle Tour. So in the last couple of weeks I’ve been bumping up the Vitamin C, washing my hands obsessively and trying to squeeze in a few training runs – nothing was going to keep me from joining in on the Two Oceans festivities

 

I would be repping the I Play Fair ZA team once more, but this time in two events – the 22km Trail Run and the 21km Half Marathon – my very own stage race 🙂

 

Both races had reputations for being tough. I am very familiar with the Half Marathon so I knew that doing back to back days would be the perfect opportunity to fly the I Play Fair flag and demonstrate the values of hard work and keeping sport clean.

 

Day 01 – the 22km Trail Run

The trail races would be run on Good Friday starting and ending at UCT. The 22km race set off first, with a field of SA’s top trail stars battling it out on the course – and then there was me, just trying to survive and finish before the start of the Nappy Dash 🙂

 

The route rises up from UCT, past Rhodes Memorial and then follows the Plumpudding track up to the King’s Blockhouse. The climb was tough, but thankfully a queue had formed at the base of Mowbray Ridge where there was some scrambling to do. This gave us time to catch our breath.

 

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Queuing up to scramble

 

Once up Mowbray Ridge, it was along the Devil’s Peak Middle Traverse where the race continued all the way to the Saddle Route with some spectacular views of the CBD. We returned along the Contour Path to the Blockhouse, but by then I was starting to feel the effects of the tough mountain route as cramp threatened my calves.

 

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A drinks station appeared like an oasis just after the Blockhouse. That small caffeine boost from the Coke was exactly what I needed ahead of a tough second half in Newlands Forest.

 

Those sadistic event organisers went and found every tricky climb they could in Newlands Forest!

 

I was actually surprised that we managed to end lower than where we started because around every corner was (yes, you guessed it) another climb! I think I had a sense of humour failure somewhere along the Woodcutter’s Trail lol

 

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Thankfully, I emerged from the forest unscathed and crossed the finished line at UCT after running the final kilometre with both calves cramped up.

 

 

Definitely, the toughest Trail Race I’ve done in a looooooong time.

 

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Finished!

 

The rest of the day was all about eating and sleeping and trying to recover enough before the Half Marathon.

 

Day 02 – the 21km Half Marathon

That 3:45am wake-up call was brutal, but an early start is important if you want to miss traffic on route to the race.

 

Temperatures hit 32°C the day before, but we’d woken to rain and an expected high of 20°C – proper Cape Town weather.

 

My plan was just to run chilled and easy and forget about time. My sore calves, hamstrings and glutes reminded me of that as I lined up at the start of the Half Marathon.

 

Somehow, I found my way close to the front of the start chute which is a first as I’m usually at the back waiting about 2 minutes before crossing the start line. Then all of a sudden we were over Edinburgh Drive and comfortably running down the M3 – where the heck did all of this space come from?

 

The Two Oceans Half Marathon is notorious for its traffic before, during and after the event. Miraculously, I’d found space and was going way faster than I’d expected – plus the cooler weather was helping out marvelously

 

That’s when that little voice in my head said, “My bru, I know you are broken, but if we run smartly, we could actually do a decent time”

 

So I decided to stash the camera, forget about selfies and just run. This will explain the lack of in-race photos 🙂

 

Possible strategies went through my head and I settled on targeting specific spots on the course to walk. One of them being Southern Cross Drive and the other was Chet’s Hill at the start of the M3 just after Kirstenbosch.

 

And I managed to stick to it, except for the one other short walk somewhere between Hohenort and the top gate at Kirstenbosch.

 

As usual, the crowds and gees all along the way was fantastic. You just can’t help but get sucked into the whole vibe that is the Two Oceans Half Marathon. As soon as my feet hit the finishing strait on the UCT Rugby Fields, a last squeeze of energy carried me over for a PB of 2:16:22 – not bad considering the beating I’d taken the day before.

 

 

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The I Play Fair ZA team at the Two Oceans Half Marathon

 

Wrapping up

It was a rough two days for me, but it was worth my missions of raising awareness to tackle doping in sport and also (on a personal note) prove to myself that I could take on the tough routes and survive – even get a PB!

 

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The spirit of Run As One shone through each event that I witnessed that weekend. From parents beaming while running with their toddlers, to speedy runners stopping in their tracks to check if other’s were okay. I saw strangers helping each other over the finish line and first-time runners finishing distances that they never thought possible… it was amazing!

 

A massive shout-out goes to my wife Aanikah, who crossed the finished line in the 56km Ultra Marathon displaying some next-level bad-assery.

 

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Our Ultra Marathon Machines!

 

Hopefully, in 2017 I’ll be stepping up as well 🙂

 

Did you join in on any of the races or festivities during the 2016 Two Oceans weekend? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

 

– Peace

 

For more information about the SA Institute of Drug Free Sport check their website out here

Also, go ahead and like the I Play Fair initiative’s Facebook page and pledge your support to this worthy cause

Fareed

fareed@leavethecouch.com
4 Comments
  • Phillip Gibb

    March 29, 2016 at 10:59 am Reply

    Wow! Friday and Saturday! Respect.

    • Fareed

      March 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm Reply

      If only they were at your pace Phil! Would’ve been much less time on legs 🙂

  • Fatima

    May 17, 2016 at 8:35 am Reply

    When I’m not blogging about my hiking, I’m writing for The Wrap and this was my experience at OMTOM 🙂

    Fatima OMTOM 2016
    About 2 weeks before the race, Mr
    Marshal sends us a message with the list
    of volunteers for the OMTOM 2016 and I
    note that my name is on this list and gave
    my thumbs up without protest.
    I had volunteered way back in January
    already and I was thrilled I made the list.
    There were many of the normal
    volunteers either running or away for the
    long weekend. So YAY!
    2 days prior to the event I asked Mr
    Marshal where we were to meet and what
    time to which he didn’t reply. I think he
    was being ‘aspris’ because I removed
    myself from the Marshal Chat group.
    Apparently he does not take to kindly to
    that. But there is often times I have to
    run away and hide… even from
    myself…but let’s not get psychological
    here.
    Anyway, Saeed does send the details and
    we are to meet at 0445!
    Which means that I have to be up at
    0300!
    Nashita (Other Friend) picks me up and
    we make our way to Noreen Avenue…
    where we are divided into groups, given
    flags, bibs, Cokes, caps and a very kwaai
    sweater!
    It was worth getting up at 3am for, I
    think!
    I think I need to start my OMTOM crew
    sweater collection! I musma marshal
    more so I can stay in the good books by
    Mr Marshal.
    Uncle Aslam O wanted to give me the
    loudspeaker and I tell him no thank you,
    my vocal chords are strong enough to be
    heard by anyone within 100m, thank you
    very much.
    Shortly after 5am, the groups drive to
    their respective assigned stations and we
    follow Mr Marshal….

    Drive, drive, drive and we end up on the
    M3 again and I ask Nashita huh?!
    Why did we back up and turn right into
    Paradise road when we could’ve just
    turned left onto the M3? She says that he
    took the wrong road again.
    We drive some more and take the Travato
    Link turn-off and soon I realise that Mr
    Marshall didn’t know where the road was
    as we backed up a few times and Nashita
    confirmed again that this happens every
    year!

    I then ask Nashita what is the name of
    the road we need to be at, so I input
    Paradise Road into Google Maps and with
    my GPS on, Nashita leads us to our
    destination…
    After morning prayers and a slight drizzle
    and with my ‘hare mincing’ I station
    myself under the footbridge and getting
    cold!
    Mr Marshal instructs us on what to do and
    we wait for the runners to come through
    with some spectators across the road
    laughing to whatever I was saying but I
    can’t remember the nonsense that comes
    out of my mouth most times.

    Finally the first runners comes through
    and we keep them on the far left like we
    supposed to and we cheer and when the
    road fills up with runners, Mr Marshal
    instructs us to get out of the way and get
    on top of the barrier.
    And with that I go from marshal to
    cheerleader.
    Oh boy, am I cheering!
    My voice was soon hoarse from cheering!

    My throat was sore for days… and my
    hands.
    And we cheer some more.
    After the race a few friends said they
    could hear me cheering before they saw
    me!
    I also kept my hand out for high-5’s and
    some runners were just nasty to slap my
    hand as hard as possible.

    Some even ran from across the road to
    cheerfully high-5 me.
    By 0700 the last of the runners came
    past… although there were quite a few
    stragglers.
    Soon the last of the runners and
    stragglers came through and Mr Marshall
    went off and picked up litter the runners
    dropped.
    Mostly bags and ponchos they used to
    keep dry from the rain but threw away
    clothing as well.

    We then had breakfast with Nashita
    entertaining us with a spot-on Mr Marshal
    impersonation which had us in stitches!
    Mr Marshal was not amused much. He
    just smiled sardonically.

    It was then decided that Other Friend and
    I decided to go to the Finish Line. We
    drive past the runners on M3 and I cheer
    once more and ask if they want a lift.
    Those who replied yes, I responded with a
    no, you got yourself into this all by
    yourself.
    Mr Marshal and Mr Salie ‘Full’ Price both
    had ‘Vehicle Access’ stickers on their cars
    and we could just drive up the UCT
    turnoff.

    It was a mission finding parking at UCT
    but we eventually found a space and
    made our way to the Ommiedraai
    Gazebo.

    Snacks were laid out but I wanted to be
    part of the gees at the finish line and
    cheer some more. I made it in time for
    the something or the other cut-off which
    was intense! The adrenalin as runners
    put in that extra effort, some falling and
    some literally being dragged across the
    finish line to make cut-off!
    I am so looking forward to next year’s
    OMTOM!
    I also managed to see the Male and
    Female Ultra-Marathon winners come
    through!
    I had never been interested in Marathons,
    I never watched it on TV, but it was quite
    fun being part of the gees though!
    Nashita and I go stand in the long queue
    for coffee for us all.

    It took quite a while to get our coffee and
    when we got back, Mr Marshal was asleep
    in his chair.
    I take a couple of photos of him plus a
    photo of another guy taking a selfie with
    Mr Marshal fast asleep.
    I bet he is not gonna find this funny!
    With his coffee getting cold, I decide to
    shimmy in front of his face…

    …but just then Mr Marshal woke up and
    caught me!
    Everyone had a good laugh at my
    embarrassment.

    Mr Marshall’s camera is just lying about
    so he tells me it’s time to ‘get my rocks
    off’ and off I go walking around and
    taking photos of this and that with his
    kwaai camera.
    Yes.
    Nashita and I eventually leave at 12pm
    with the others waiting for the Ultra
    Ommie runners to come in. W

    • Fareed

      May 17, 2016 at 9:42 am Reply

      Hilarious! But where is the rest of it? Do you have a link?

      The work that the marshals do behind the scene is really fantastic! Thanks so much for adding your voice to the gees 🙂 Next year again?

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