Irvette van Zyl to bring tough competition in Two Oceans Marathon

After watching last year’s race from the sidelines due to injury, Irvette van Zyl will be returning to compete in the Two Oceans Marathon in 2024

After watching last year’s race from the sidelines due to injury, Irvette van Zyl will be returning to compete in the Two Oceans Marathon in 2024. Photo: Supplied

Published Mar 10, 2024


Irvette van Zyl is one of those athletes who wear their heart on their sleeve. With her, what you see is what you get. And what you hear her say, she always means.

This week when she spoke about her excitement at being able to run the Total Sports Two Oceans Marathon, the Hollywood Running Club athlete resembled a kid in a sweet shop. And with good reason too, for Van Zyl endured the pain of watching last year’s race on the sidelines due to injury.

She hated not being part of the race. Understandably so, for the year before she had smashed the 56km Mother City ultra as she dipped below Frith van der Merwe’s record from 1989 that had previously been thought of as unbreakable. Incredibly, despite her fantastic -3:30:31, Van Zyl was not the winner in 2022, that honour belonging to that South African road-running machine called Gerda Steyn -3:29:45.

As she looked ahead to next month’s (April 13) race during the announcement of Hollywood’s team for the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon, Van Zyl revealed just how tough it was for her not being able to race last year.

“Being on the other side seeing them race, it was really hard. When the finish tape was broken my heart broke into so many pieces. It was so hard that day, but I am glad to be back in the race and I am looking forward to doing well. If I win Two Oceans I am gonna start drinking again,” she laughed.

“But it should not be an obsession. Hopefully I can give someone tough competition. And you all know who that someone is.”

She did give Steyn competition back in 2022 when the two of them ran under Van Der Merwe’s record from 1989.

“I knew going into 2022 that I had done a 50k, and I had a plan to run a 3:30. I knew it was possible and it went good on the day, but it was just not good enough. Gerda levelled that record and I was a part of it. It was an interesting race but unfortunately just three kilometres longer for me,” she said before letting out that piercing laugh of hers.

While she will be out for glory, Van Zyl is just glad to be back running, having felt the pain of being out due to injury.

“I value my running now more than I did before after it was taken away from me for so many months. It felt like the injury would not heal and I was never coming back. Hopefully

I still have a few years in me to run. If injury comes, you never know if it will be the end. So I am going to enjoy it race for race, as if it was my last because you never know if it will be the last.”

And she considers herself very blessed to be running for a supportive club.

“I am a happier athlete now, and I am very pleased with the support I got from Hollywood during my long-term injury. They were good and helped me come back because they are interested in the human being. They just want us to be the best that we can be. They know I am not a running machine and now I can enjoy my running game again.”

She will enjoy it even more if she wins Two Oceans next month.


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