by Kevin Hendrikse
Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, this year run for the 48th time, once again stood up to its reputation of being the most beautiful marathon in the world. Twenty five Stella runners braced the chilly 12°C start for the 21km and 56km races. With the singing of our National Anthem and drone of the whale caller, we were off.
With a fresh South Easterly wind blowing it was clear that we were going to have to work hard for the first 20km down to Fish Hoek. The supporters who lined the streets in their droves, donned in warm jackets, beanies and colourful attire, edged us on against the headwind. The stretch between Fish Hoek and Noordhoek is a fairly easy 10km stretch, except for the nasty camber that surprises you and bites at the calves.
Anybody who has run “Oceans” knows that the race only starts at 29km – the start of the mountains. The crowds of spectators in Noordhoek are amazing, forming a tunnel and cheering with the loom of the climb ahead. Chappies, the renowned Chapmans Peak Drive is beautiful and brutal. Little Chappies is short and steep, followed by a short gentle down, before the long, arduous climb to the summit. It is worth admiring the beauty – the scenery is dramatic with sheer mountain cliffs tumbling into a turquoise ocean. The water table at the top is a well-deserved break with heart stopping views. The run down chappies is fast as it winds down into the sleepy hollow village of Hout Bay. Hout Bay, another popular spot for spectators, is packed with supporters. It was great to see Cecil and Kathy Sher, a past chairman of Stella on the side of the road cheering for our green and gold.
Encouraged by the masses of supporters, brass bands, dancers and residents we approach the marathon mark. Only 13km to go – an easy Saturday morning Gillies distance left, except there is Constantia Nek to traverse. Constantia Nek is an agonising, steep 2km – this is the Polly Shorts of Two Oceans that you reach on tired legs. Walk, run, walk, walk, walk….keep moving forward until you reach the top of the Nek, with only 8km to the end you can sense the finish line.
With crowds cheering all the way down the tree line Rhodes Drive, past Kirstenbosch gardens, you work your way to the finish. Two little bumps and the green flags of Old Mutual welcome you to the fields of UCT. The atmosphere is electric – the stands are jam packed with supporters, family, friends and the cacophony of noise is deafening as you run the last 100m to the finish line. 56km of absolute beauty – definitely the most beautiful marathon in the world.
Congratulations to all Stella runners who completed both the half and full marathons. We were well supported with many people screaming for Stella along the route.
A special mention to our first lady, Marie Griffiths (5h19 and receiving her Blue Number), our first man – Alasdair Leslie, completing his first Two Oceans in the unbelievable time of 3h47. Phillip van Niekerk and Shane Hinchliffe on completing 34 and 30 Two Oceans ultra’s and Kevin Hendrikse for also entering the Blue number club.