Two Oceans 2009

In a moment of madness I've entered my first (correction: ONLY) ultra and it's going to be Two Oceans in Cape Town in April.

Anyone else doing this?

Anyone done this since 2004 (which is when the course changed to the current route)?

Any advice for an ultra novice?



  • Good luck.  It was my first ultra in 1996 and I'd not done much more than ordinary marathon training for it, with a couple of slightly longer than usual long runs. 

    best advice is to relax and enjoy it i think.

  • Hi Hammie

    Long time no see. How are you?

    Aiming to relax and not worry about time (so long as I make the cut off). Just want to make sure I can get the training right to get me through. Planning on buying a mini-camera to take some photos on the route and also planning LOTS of hill training!

  • FS

    Ran this in 2006, 7 and 8.  Beautiful course.  I'm a plodder and only managed a Blue medal for each run...

    Would agree with UH - relax and enjoy the beatufiul scenery, especially along Chapman's Peak Drive...

    Unfortunately not doing it this year...


  • SD

    I'm only setting my sights on a Blue medal. I'm a back of the packer too.

    I always promised myself I would do one ultra and that this would be it (in fact I think it is Ultra Hamster's fault I know about this race at all!). so just getting round in under 7 will do me fine.

    Are the hills as bad as they look from the course profile? 

    Shame you're not doing it this year.

  • I ran last year, and have decided to come back and give it another go this year, so it can't be that bad!

    Both hills in my opinion are long but not particularly steep, the second being late on in the race for me became a little hard going.

     Without doubt highly recommended though.


  • FS

    I would say that the course profile makes the two significant hills - Chappies and Constantia - look much worse than it is.  No shame in taking walking breaks on either, I'd say.  Chappies didn't seem too bad for me as I've been too busy admiring the scenery to really worry about the hill itself.  Constantia is a little harder coming after the marathon mark and also because you have to tackle it later in the day when it is quite a bit hotter - make sure you get one of the ice lollies on offer before the hill starts because on a hot day you'll really appreciate it.

    There is one big mistake that I made this year which I think cost me a bronze medal - that was to think that the hardest part of the race was over once I'd got past the top of Constantia Nek.  There is still quite a long way to go and mentally I'd relaxed too soon and I couldn't handle it when things got hard later on and blew my chances for a bronze.

    If you can, see if you can do a drive on the run route - trying to remember landmarks on the final section from Constantia - which should hopefully help you on the day.  You'll need change as Chappies is a toll road.

    You'll love the course though and also the interaction with fellow runners - as an overseas runner you run in an different colour number - orange - which you wear on the front and back and it has your name or nickname printed in large letters on it.  On some sections you're chatting so much it can be like a social run!

    Very jealous!


  • Thanks for the information, both.

    SD - suspect you are faster than me if you were on for a bronze at any stage! My stated aim is to complete in under 7 hours, so 6:59:59 would satisfy me but secretly (or not so secretly now) I'd like to do around 6:30. Much will depend on how my training goes and how hot it is on the day.

    SPB - see you at the start then!

    Another question for you both - what was/will be your longest training run?

  • FS - my longest training run will be the Draycote 35.  My mistake last year was not to do enough long runs, so this year I have decided to change the plan a little.  I also ran a marathon last Sunday and will do another a week Sunday, those together with a few other long Sunday runs should hopefully see me feeling a bit better over the last 9 miles.

     See you at the start, and most definately in the free beer tent after!


  • FS

    Longest training run was a marathon - did one each in December, January and February (race was in March in 2008...).  I think when it was in April I ran one each in Jan, Feb and March.

    In my first two races I knew I had no chance of a bronze by the time I reached the marathon mark (finished in 6:44 and 6:41),  I thought it was going to be third time lucky even at the top of Constantia but ended up taking 6:18.


  • Hi, not doing too badly thanks Floosie, will only be running Draycote and FLM this year, trying to improve my shorter pbs. 

    I did 4:17 if I recall in 1996 and my longest run had been 29 miles (while training for the London marathon which I did 2 weeks after 2 Oceans).

    I remember the climb up to Chapman' s peak as long but gradual and very runnable, the hill at Constncia Nek would be arder, but shorter.  I ran every step but I remember a lot of people walked it.  Also remember teh run down as being hard on my ankle, there's an odd camber on that road which caused my right shoe to run on the bottom of my ankle. 

    If you've got time go up the  otp of Table mountain (long queue for teh cable car) and the beaches.

  • No Hamster runs round an althetics track this year Hamster? You might have to change your forum name.

    Our plan is to do Table Mountain on the first clear day (so long as that isn't race day!), then a few other things in Cape Town before heading up to the Winelands for a couple of days on a vineyard (perfect post-race recovery) then the Garden Route and Addo National park.

    Thanks to all for the info on the hills and your long runs. I've got one 26 mile run planned in February and a 29 (which might become a 26) planned for March (about 4 weeks before the race) with mainly 20 milers in between which will be done on the back of some 6 - 8 mile runs the day before. Does this sound sensible?

    One thing I need to consider is my recovery from long runs - I've struggled with it occassionally in the past - so if I think 29 miles is too far four weeks before, I'll drop it back to the marathon distance. Off out for my first "proper" hill session tonight.

     Now, tell me more about this free beer tent...

  • Oh and Slow Duck - read your profile, sounds like you have some great goals lined up. Where are you in Surrey (please feel free to e-mail if you don't want to go public on here!).
  • Don't want to worry you but just come back from Cape Town and Chappies is shut yet again, another large rock fall. They are busy reconstructing and clearing the passage.Hopefully should be open in time but would suggest carrying a crash helmet just in case fantastic place and superb run, enjoy!!

  • I am sure Slow Duck will correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall at registration getting a voucher for two people which gains entry to the 'International entrants' tent, which also has a prime spot near the finish.  They lay on food and drink (including cans/bottles of lager).  Last year I was somewhat frazzled from the run, so it was purely soft drinks only for me (I think!).

    I am no expert on long training runs as my limited experience of ultras normally ends up going horribly wrong.  But I think you need to be confident in your stamina and do not worry about taking walking breaks.  I hope the more experienced can help you.


  • What date is it exactly? Are entries still open?

  • Candy - date is 11 April - Easter Saturday - and entries are open until early march.

    runningman - thanks for the tip. I'll pop into the bike shop on the way home!

    My husband will be very pleased to get an invite to a free beer tent after a hard day's supporting, so I hope you're right SPB!

    Off to check the TO website to see about the Chappies closure.

  • FS

    I work in Dorking and run with Dorking and Mole Valley AC.

    SPB100 is right they give you get tickets for the International Tent at the Expo.  There were free drinks on offer thoroughout race day.   The tent is located on the finishing straight and it is a brillant location.  I overdosed on Fantas and couldn't stop talking for the next 2 hours!  Mrs Slow Duck found it most amusing...

    Also at the Expo when you are collecting your number there is an international area where they have free food and drink.  The Friday morning Friendship Run is also free and  you get a free T-shirt when you register for that...


  • I've registered for the Friendship Run but I doubt I will actually run it.

    I'll check out the International Areas, they will be something to keep Mr Floosie (aka Raffles) amused while I slog my way round the course!

  • FS: I have done two Oceans twice 2004 & 2007. Chappies and Constantia are nothing to get worried about. I certainly never ran further than a marathon in training, IMHO normal marathon training is sufficient for Two Oceans. The International tent is fine, a good place to sit and watch the world (or runners) go by.

    Two Oceans is definately one of the more do-able ultras

  • Thank you all for your calm responses on here. It has settled my nerves and I will check back on here when I start to panic later in my training!
  • If you want to re coupe some of your airfare might i suggest you take a box of Bingo dabbers and stand outside the local bingo hall, they sell like hot cakes, i took my aunt  48, all i could fit in my case and paid 25p each for, and my aunt sold them in 10 mins for  25 Rand about £1.50, seems they are very hard to get over there, i should start an import business of Bingo dabbersimage
  • Floosie Sue

     Just found the Two Oceans thread and wanted to sy best of luck and enjoy the event.

    Myself and a fellow runner from my running club did it last year and we enjoyed it so much we are doing it again in 5 days time.

     We fly to Cape Town on Wednesday with KLM and intend to go to the Expo on Thursday.

    My advice would be to not be phased by the race and break  the race down into bite size pieces, so for example phase one from Newlands to the coast, phase two along the coast to we turn inland, phase three the run in land and so. Each phase is a small 10 to 12 km race and that way it don't seem at all bad.

    The runners tent at the end of the race is great with free wine, beer, cakes, sandwisches etc.

    The support along the route is fantastic and you won't lack for verbal encouragement and your fellow runners will help and support you all the way.

    Running at dawn on Easter Saturday in Cape Town is without doubt a priveledge and joy. Last year  when running the race I recognise that I was unbelievably lucky to be able to run 56km and to have the good fortune to take part in a truely fanatstic event.

     You will love it.

  • Indeed, good luck to everyone going out to Cape Town and the Two Oceans.

     I also fly out on Wednesday, from Brirmingham with KLM nice and early!!

     So I hope to bump into some folk at some point - plane, expo, Fridays run or Saturday etc....

     Have a good run all.


  • Hi Guys

    Thanks for the comments and advice. I am swinging between excitement, nerves and panic at the moment but mostly I am really looking forward to the event.

    We fly out on Wednesday ngiht with BA from Heathrow, so hoping to be at the Expo Thursday (Jonathon, I said Friday in my e-mail but SPB's post has just reminded me that I need to go Thursday to pick up the stuff for the Friendship Run!)

    I'll be the nervous looking woman in a white "Striders of Croydon" t-shirt at the Expo. I'm the only Strider traveling to SA, so if you see the t-shirt, it can only be me! On race day I'll be wearing my tasteful "Striders of Croydon" green and yellow vest.

    I've been logging on to a SA forum for a while now ( and one of the pacers posts on there. I'm hoping to meet up and run with him on the day - he paces the "cut off bus" which is essentially the equivalent of London's "Get You Round".

    Have safe journeys and I hope to see you both there. If I miss you, have a great race.


  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    Just checked the website & Floosie finished inside the cut-off. 
  • Well done Floosie, good result.  You beat the cut-off by miles................... almost 5 minutes image
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    Apparently it was more like 7 mins according to her watch, and I never argue with her.
  • How do you know what it was according to my watch?!?! Have you been checking with the office? image

    Gun time was 6:55:34, watch time 6:52:56. I was aiming for 6:50 so I'm chuffed image

    How did everyone else get on?

    And you are a sensible man not to argue with me, young Gavo image

  • Hello Ultra Boys and Girls

    Two Oceans was a story of two halves. I was a minute up at 28km on last year, got to the top of  Chapman's Peak and then cramped in both feet, both calf's and both lower arms. This experience lasted for 17 km and not only did the race test my physical strength but also my mental strength.

    At 48 km I was struggling to walk and running was a distant memory, a local runner went past me and thrust a tablet into mt hand (Myprodol). Within 2 km I was running again and did the last 6 km in 30 minutes with a finishing time of 5hrs 56 mins (29 mins slower than 2008). The race was totally draining and if I had not been English I would have cried. I had trained specifcally for 5 months for this race and was undone by cramp, but, you learn. What had cost me and caused the cramp was a conversation in the early stages of the race which lasted for over an hour with a fellow runner. In training I had done all my long runs on my own and so by engaging in conversation for such a long period of time I had drank for too much water in the firts 90 minutes of the race as my attention had been distracted. I was also 40 minutes late with my first gel. I basically flushed out all my salts and paid a heavy price not only in time taken to complete the race but in elevated pain levels.

    I am, given health and finances going to compete in 2010, it remans a brilliant event and I would encourage as many people as possible to participate.

    On a different note the Mr Price running team stayd in the same hotel as us, at 4:45am 3 mini buses left the hotel with their runners on board. At 4:55 a confussed Mr Mambo arrived at the hotel door way with no lift available, he eventually got to the race via our taxi and was called en route by the team manger who enquired as to his wereabouts 'In the Casino' came the response from one of the other passengers. Poor Marco Mambo was caught by the the race winner just over 1km from the finish and ended up finishing second failing to win his fourth consequetiive race. The message is that even the best need to stick to a race plan if they want to achieve their goals and get up on time.

    Well done to all competitors and finishers and hopefully God willing see you in the Mother City for the 2010 race. Did any see Oasis?


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