Two Oceans Board member (and former chairperson) calls cutoff issue ‘trivial matter’


It is in times of great turmoil that you hope for a hero. Someone who will step forward to create sense and order from the chaos. Someone who will do the right thing when others cower and hide. Someone who will act with the maturity and integrity that their peers seem incapable of.

As William Shakespeare said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” It was indeed another William who raised his hand amidst the turmoil of the Two Oceans cutoff saga. William Swartbooi is a current Two Oceans Board member and former chairperson of the organisation.

This William is part of a Board that has stumbled over sensibility, tripped over truthfulness and trampled on the hopes and dreams of the runners they are meant to serve. If William Shakespeare were alive today, no doubt the Bard of Avon would shake his head in dismay and observe on the current Board of Bergvliet, “Some are born stupid, some achieve stupidity, and some have stupidity thrust upon them.”

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Two Oceans 2024: Copycat cutoff chaos


Two Oceans are known to copy whatever Comrades does. Comrades’ prestigious Green Number Club was followed by Two Oceans’ Blue Number Club. When Comrades added an hour to their finish time, Two Oceans extended the same favour. When Comrades introduced qualification marathons, Two Oceans added the same criteria to take part. When Comrades introduced the Bill Rowan Medal between silver and bronze, Two Oceans quickly followed with the Sainsbury. I really didn’t think Two Oceans would copy Comrades’ cutoff debacle but here we are.

This article provides an in-depth independent investigation of organisational deficiencies, statistical analysis of previous results data and first-hand accounts of what happened at the Two Oceans marathon cutoff and top of Constantia Nek. It aims to drop a series of logic bombs amidst Two Oceans’ sea of debatable decisions and questionable explanations.

Executive Summary:

  • The 2024 marathon cutoff was 10 minutes stricter than for the 2022 and 2023 event (and 13 minutes stricter than pre-Covid events).
  • The change in cutoff conditions was not communicated effectively to participants.
  • Data from previous Two Oceans events was not used to determine the stricter cutoff times.
  • Data analysis shows that 55 participants who earned a medal in 2023 would have been cutoff with 2024 times. With entry number increases, this equates to +/-70 runners robbed of a medal in 2024.
  • Data analysis shows that Blue medallists typically run far faster than the 8:11/km allowed over the final 14km in 2024.
  • Female runners, who typically pace ultras better and finish faster, were negatively impacted dramatically more by the stricter marathon cutoff than were men.
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Two Oceans Ultra Marathon Cutoffs: Unedited Runner Stories


The following are unedited correspondence I’ve received from various 2024 Two Oceans ultra runners who were impacted by the the marathon and Constantia Nek cutoffs. I have just removed any identifying text like names and race numbers.

I believe that this is a valuable resource to understand that there are always humans who are impacted in different ways by these unfortunate decisions. Some are angry, others disappointed, others disillusioned – there’s a wide variety of different emotions.

I will be publishing an in-depth analysis of the cutoff issue in the next few days (I’ve just received answers to my detailed questions from the Two Oceans Organisation). The article will draw from some of these stories.

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“Worst thing I have witnessed in 20 years of running” says International Runner with 418 marathon finishes in 77 countries


Danish runner, Tor Rønnow, travelled to Cape Town especially for the 2024 Two Oceans Ultra Marathon. Rønnow is an accomplished runner with 418 marathon finishes in 77 different countries across all 7 continents. He’s run all 6 world marathon majors but, surprisingly, the Two Oceans was his first ultra marathon.

The calm before the cutoff controversy storm.
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The Running Mann’s Guide to April/May Marathons & Ultras


This article provides detailed information on all South Africa’s April and May marathons including race descriptions, recommendations and travel information.

April is ultra month, with seven ultras dominating pairing nicely with the seven standard marathons on offer. There are just six road ultras in the world with over 1,000 finishers – five are run in South Africa and three of them are held in April (my own personal favourite ultra is the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon over the Easter weekend).

It’s also the busiest May I’ve ever seen with five options including the new Midvaal Marathon and the reintroduction of the False Bay 50. The Cross Province Marathon is the only new race in April. Continue reading “The Running Mann’s Guide to April/May Marathons & Ultras”


I offered Comrades runners trust-based loans: This is what happened


The Scenario

It is the middle of October 2018 and entries have just opened for next year’s Comrades Marathon. The entries are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Runners, particularly those from lower income groups, raise concerns that all 25,000 entries will be sold before they get paid at the end of the month and have the funds to enter.

After seeing several social media posts from anxious athletes, I decided to do a small good deed aligned with the spirit of Comrades: Offer an interest free, trust-based loan to five Comrades runners. I’d pay for their entry and they can pay me back when they have the money to do so. This is the story of what happened…

The spirit of Comrades.

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In Your Father’s Footsteps (When You Can Hike But You Can’t Run)


Inspiring Two Oceans Stories: Karen Brough

When running is in your blood, you can hide – and hike, cycle and swim – but you’ll eventually have to run.

Karen Brough has hiked all over the world. She’s completed the Annapurna Trail in the Himalayas, walked the El Camino from France, trekked across the Pyrenean Mountains to Santiago in Spain (900kms in 20 days) and climbed Kilimanjaro just for the views.

Karen has also cycled thousands of kilometres on her bike – her greatest achievement in this space was raising over a million rand for charity by doing a series of long distance peddles from Johannesburg to Maputo, Johannesburg to Cape Town and Johannesburg to East London.

She’s “always been a very active person” but none of her regular endurance exploits ever broke out into a run – until recently. At the age of 56 Karen set her sights on completing the IronMan – and accidentally fell into running, “I have always wanted to do a full IronMan. I could swim and cycle with ease, but soon realised my dream would never come true if I couldn’t run a marathon.”

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Novice Two Oceans Marathon Mistakes: When you’ve #RunAsOne, don’t finish as two!


Cautionary OMTOM Stories: BN4991

This story was confessed to me by a club mate who made a terrible mistake during her first Two Oceans Marathon in 2004. It still haunts her to this day and she doesn’t want other novices to repeat the same grave error of judgement.

She is still acutely embarrassed by her naïve blunder – so much so that she only agreed to share her story under condition of anonymity. Therefore, I have decided to respect her wishes and will refer to the protagonist of this story under the code name BN4991.

Dare (partially) accepted.

Continue reading “Novice Two Oceans Marathon Mistakes: When you’ve #RunAsOne, don’t finish as two!”


30-year old photo of long-lost family member gets Two Oceans Half Marathon novice to the start


Inspiring OMTOM Stories: Rikki Hibbert

Rikki’s mom had lost contact with her favourite cousin-once-removed, Wesley Tiedt, for over 40 years until Facebook intervened and facilitated a happy family reunion in Johannesburg.

The blood ties were quickly rekindled and Rikki immediately formed a strong bond with her new-found family member. She says, “It was clear we were all cut from the same cloth and had the same wacky sense of humour.”

They spent the Christmas of 2017 together on Wes’ farm in St. Francis Bay. Rikki was paging through a photo album when she stumbled across the picture below of Wes running the 1987 Two Oceans Marathon. Photo finishes are commonplace in athletics but this photo was about initiate a major change in Rikki’s life.

Wesley Tiedt (left) on his way to a 5:58:14 finish at Two Oceans Marathon 1987. No time to walk up Constantia Nek as the cut-off time was 6-hours in those days.

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