M1m in­cen­tive for Two Oceans

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

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.”

mabuthile le­bopo.

mot­lokoa Nkhabut­lane

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