I had been excited for this race for some time and couldn’t wait to get on the start line. This was to be my first race while living in South Africa and what a way to kick start the first of many, (I hope!) It was also the 50th anniversary of the Two Oceans Marathon, so I felt excited to be part of that.
Prior to the race, I’d had a few tough months of training, mainly due to adjusting to running in the heat and humidity of Durban in the summer. Anyone who lives there or has run there will know what I mean! As a result, I had completed fewer long runs than I had hoped to, but I was hopeful that training in the heat would have created positive benefits.
I arrived in Cape Town a few days before the race and got to enjoy some great sightseeing. My friend, who lives in Cape Town took us on a road trip along the coast, which was brilliant, especially as the sun was shining. We stopped off at Boulders beach, where I got to see the Penguins and we saw lots of the gorgeous beaches. Cape Town is certainly one of the best locations for exploring in South Africa. This was a perfect way to keep the legs rested while seeing the sights.
The day before the race, I visited the race expo to collect my race number. It was very well organised and there were no queues. After a bit or retail therapy and obligatory photos, it was time for carbo-loading and an early night. This was especially important as my start time was 5.50am the following day!
After an early start on race day, I headed off for the start line! The Two Oceans half marathon 2019 was truly on. Unfortunately, there was heavy traffic, which I hadn’t expected, so I ended up missing my start time and ended up much further back in the field. It also meant I missed the build-up to the start which I was disappointed about. So I would advise allowing quite a bit of time to travel there for anyone considering this race.
I soon set off, which was very exciting. There were so many runners, and I loved the fact that it started in the dark. The first few kilometres were slow, due to being with a large volume of slower runners, but I was eventually able to pick them off and get back to a pace I was aiming for. There was a tough hill after a few kilometres, but I felt happy with how I coped with it and it didn’t slow me down after.
As the kilometres built up, the sun started to rise behind the mountains, and what a view this was! More supporters also started to come out, which gave a great boost. I also loved the live bands, many which an African influence.
The water stops were frequent and in the form of the biodegradable pouches. I haven’t used these before but I was really impressed with them. They were easy to drink and didn’t leave litter on the roadside after that bottles do. They also provided sports drink pouches too, which I took a couple of during the race.
The kilometres ticked on, and despite the regular hills and cambers to deal with, I remained feeling strong. I was hoping that my goal of finishing under 2 hours was realistic with the pace I was maintaining. I also felt very inspired looking at everyone’s race numbers (you even have one of the back of your vest). They showed how many half and full marathons that person had done before, and I was so impressed with how many people had done! It definitely inspired me to go on to run the 56km ultra marathon one day!
Before long, I was into the last few kilometres and last tough hill. As the finish line approached, the crowd support built and there was a great atmosphere. I crossed the line in 1.58.09 and was thrilled that I managed it in under 2 hours! After some refuelling and rest, it was then time for some celebratory beers and more fun in Cape Town!
I would highly recommend this race; it’s a huge event on the South African sporting calendar, well organised and a great crowd. I would definitely like to do this again, maybe this time doing the 56km! Who is going to join me?!