M1m incentive for Two Oceans
CAPE TOWN — Elite runners in the 2016 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon will once again be taking part with a large incentive to finish fast.
There’s a R1 million bonus prize for the first male and first female to break the respective course records come race day on 26 March.
“The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is already an impressive race in its own right,” says Karen Thomas, Head of Brand at Old Mutual. “But we believe adding this record bonus has really elevated the race to another level.
“More international runners have been drawn to the race since the bonus was introduced, plus it’s added an extra element of excitement to the day. At Old Mutual, we like to see perseverance and commitment pay off, so the bonus incentive is our reward to runners who wow the world with their dedication to their craft.”
When Old Mutual first announced the incentive ahead of the 2014 race, it immediately ignited fresh motivation for those runners who had held out little hope of bettering the times of Thompson Magawana and Frith van der Merwe, because ‘those were set on a course with a downhill finish’.
Runners who are convinced that ‘nothing is impossible’ think the bonus prize can be the catalyst for a record-breaking finish.
“If you look at other big marathons like New York or London, people also talked about the records being difficult, but then as soon as big prize money was offered, the records fell. There’s no reason that can’t happen at the Two Oceans,” reasons 2005 Two Oceans Half Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala.
In 1989, the year Frith van der Merwe set the record, “the car was enough to motivate me”, she says about the Opel Monza she got to drive away. She thinks the R1 million bonus is an incredible incentive.
“It’s going to attract very good marathon runners. It will take an athlete with natural speed to break the record.”
When the late Thompson Magawana set the men’s record of 3:03:44 in 1988, he actually bettered the record he set the previous year by almost two minutes. For his efforts, he was awarded a car too — a Volkswagen Golf.
The closest any male runner has come to his mark was in 2005, when Zimbabwean Marco Mambo ran 3:05:39 to win the second of his three titles.
While Ramaala believes Magawana’s time can be bettered, he cautions that 2016 might not be the year.
“Many top runners like myself are focusing on qualifying for the marathon at the Olympic Games, but there may be somebody from overseas who is coming just to try break the record.”