RRW: Two Oceans Marathon Cancelled Due To COVID-19

By Riël Hauman
(c) 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(05-Feb) — Cape Town’s premier running event, the Two Oceans Marathon scheduled for Easter Saturday, April 3, has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 56 km race is the second largest ultramarathon in South Africa and has been held since 1970. According to a media release by the race organizers, “the current pandemic climate, [and] the health risks around hosting the… mass participation event are far too significant for the event to proceed safely.”

Runners competing at the 2019 Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa (courtesy photo)

“It is never pleasant when an event like this is disrupted and which in turn affects the fixture calendar and the many athletes who are already planning for that day,” said Jakes Jacobs, President of Western Province Athletics (the provincial authority for the event). “However, it is even more painful to us when an event of this magnitude is forced to be cancelled. Unfortunately, the pandemic knows no bounds and… no one knows when it will be put under control or even be eliminated, if at all. We have consulted with Athletics South Africa regarding the race. Western Province Athletics and the organizers eventually took this final decision after taking into consideration the many factors in the management of the event and the current behavior of the virus.”

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The organizers said while they did consider a postponement of the event to a later date, they are “planning alternative events and programmes… within the prevailing regulations”. These will be announced soon.

The Two Oceans was also cancelled in 2020, when it would have been the 51st running of the ultramarathon (and the 23rd of the accompanying half-marathon). When it was last held in 2019, the winners were Bongmusa Mthembu and Gerda Steyn (her second consecutive victory). The race had 12,026 finishers; the combined total of 26,509 finishers in the ultra and half-marathon easily makes it the biggest running event in South Africa.

Almost simultaneously with this news, Athletics South Africa announced that track and field events can resume this weekend after several months of no activity. It is expected that the country’s COVID-19 lockdown level will be lowered by the government before or on February 15, which would increase the limit on the number of people allowed at public gatherings such as track and field meetings and road races.

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