The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon was dealt a devastating blow when the threat of protests in Hout Bay forced the re-routing of the 56 km route over the traditional alternative route over Ou Kaapse Weg.
In previous years the alternate route has been used when Chapman’s Peak was closed and the Ou Kaapse Weg also offers a challenging scenic route over the full distance.
But the change from ‘two oceans’ to ‘one ocean’ has never been accepted as the real deal, with the loss of the iconic run over Chapman’s Peak a blow to the 50th anniversary of the race.
The inaugural 2x28 km relay event has had to be cancelled with all participants given the opportunity to run the half marathon, which has not been affected.
The Two Oceans is not the first sporting event to be impacted by impending elections, with the move of the entire IPL cricket league to South Africa some years back the most obvious example.
But the forced change of route has not disrupted Craig Fry and his Kenyan runners’ plans on the record attempt, with Fry, the manager of the elite Kenyan athletes, of the opinion that the alternate route could even be marginally faster.
“It’s a credit to the organizers that they have been able to adapt to this crisis and provide a suitable alternative, rather than having to cancel the event,” Fry reflected.
“We think that the alternate route will favour our athletes and the attempt is certainly still on. We have made some adjustments in spilts, but are still looking forward to a great day’s racing tomorrow.”
The official release reads:
“Today, following the South African Police Services Priority Meeting for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, scheduled for Saturday 20 April 2019, the OMTOM NPC Board has been informed that disruptions along the Ultra Marathon route, are a credible and real threat to Event safety.
The Two Oceans Marathon NPC has, after comprehensive and careful consideration, implemented a route diversion for the 56km Ultra Marathon. While this diversion affects the Ultra Marathon, it effectively also negates the possibility of hosting what would have been our inaugural Relay, meaning that there will be no Relay Race.
The Half Marathon route remains unaffected, as do the four separate in start times.
The TOM NPC has reached this decision after having had extensive discussions with all stakeholders including the South African Police Services, the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town, Disaster Management Services, Provincial Emergency Medical Services and Cape Town Traffic.”