ROAD NEWS: Women's Running Roundup 22/04/2019

TWO OCEANS MARATHON, 56k ultra marathon and 21k half marathon

route change.png

So it’s not a marathon, it’s an ultra marathon… but it’s on the road. Yup South Africa has a very special running scene where just because something is > 26.2 it doesn’t become a) the realm of the crazy or b) only on trail. Comrades marathon is the best known of these races but Two Oceans is pretty close behind. The fact that 11,000 start the race gives you an idea of how this is a much more ‘normal’ part of running in SA than currently in the UK.

After a last minute route change due to rioting, the elevation became even more punchy - see the green route on the chart. So, there weren’t going to be any record breaking times, but with good conditions it was set to be a decent race.

In the Ultra edition, the SA Nedbank Running Club took all of the top three spots. Gerda Steyn took the win for the second year running. From my sporadic tracking (sorry) she was second place from the start and ran close the whole way until just after steep descent down Ou Kaapse Weg when she started pushing Tjoka and eventually overtook. Crazily, she came very close to the course record despite the route change! Steyn has also run a marathon PB of 2:31 in New York last Nov and has worked her way from 56th place to 2nd place in Comrades over the last 4 years. Given that the Nedbank RC website suggest she’ll be toeing the line at Comrades again this year, surely she has to be the one to watch?

I love how much she enjoys racing!

I love how much she enjoys racing!

2nd place went to Mamorallo Tjoka who, while based in SA now, competed for her country Lesotho in the marathon at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She’s also won the Soweto marathon 7 times!!

It was the owner of the course record at the Somweto marathon, Irvette VAN ZYL who came 3rd.

Ultra Marathon

  1. Gerda STEYN 03:31:28

  2. Mamorallo TJOKA 03:38:22

  3. Irvette VAN ZYL 03:41:31

Half Marathon

1.Helalia JOHANNES 01:10:29
2.Betha CHIKANGA 01:14:28
3. Fortunate CHIDZIVO 01:15:38

With news that Old Mutual have ended their 19year sponsorship and the face the SA Athletics failed to get TV coverage for the race this year, despite booming interest in the race to the point that they had to put participation caps in place, it will be interesting to see what happens next year.

Full results here

Read this great writeup of what it was like running the race by London runner and first time 2Ocean-er Fiona English


It was a swift one in china as both the 1st and 2nd place this year beat the course record of 2:24:45 set by two-time winner Letebrhan Haylay last year.

  1. Afera Godfay ETH 2:22:21 (PB)

  2. Waganesh Mekesha ETH 2:23:19

  3. Truphena Chepchirchir KEN, 2:17:52 (PB)

The IAAF reports:

A pack of seven paced the race in the early stages, passing 10km in 34:05 and 15km in 51:01. The 27-year-old Mekasha, who has a PB of 2:22:45 set in Dubai in January, tried to pull away after the half way point with only Godfay managing to keep up.

After 10k though, the 1-2 was decided and Mekasha couldn’t get past Godfay leaving a relatively comfortable win. 27 year old Godfay broke the women’s Mexican all-comers half marathon record at the Guadalajara Half Marathon in 1:08:53 and that’s not her PB.


This sounds like it was a really exciting race - not quite as good as the men’s finish at Boston but a good’un!

Seven runners made it through half way as a pack with three still together by 25k. Kipketer eventually dropped behind just after 35k and then there was a battle to the end resulting in a 14second victory for Hunde, with Chala left in second place.

1 Meskerem Hunde (ETH) 2:33:32
2 Kebene Chala (ETH) 2:33:46
3 Valentine Kipketer (KEN) 2:35:03
4 Pauline Wangui (KEN) 2:36:02
5 Yumiko Kinoshita (JPN) 2:36:28


29 year old Kenya’s Perine Nengampi ran a PB of 1:08:04 to beat a whole bunch of 1:08’ers and cause a bit of a stir. After taking the lead at halfway she ran an assured race, continually building her lead to win with a significant gap before 2nd place..

Last week I was gutted and a bit annoyed that Tirunesh Dibaba had pulled out of the Women’s race at London Marathon but this week I’m delighted, because it turns out that she’s pregnant!

Talking of London, I’ll have a full preview for you tomorrow evening but have done a great post of ‘3 reasons to get excited for London 2019’ and two of them are because of the women’s race. They say:

When the field was announced in January, the stats were simply ridiculous: London contained five of the six reigning WMM champs from 2018 (plus the 2018 Dubai champ), and four of the five fastest women of all time.

Things have changed a bit since then. Tirunesh Dibaba has scratched, and the stellar runs by Ruth Chepngetichand Worknesh Degefa in Dubai this year mean that London now features #2, #6, #7, and #9 on the all-time list as opposed to #2, #3, #4, and #5. But this race remains comically loaded

They also big-up the USA’s Huddle-Sissons battle/team which is going to be a race in its own right.

Read the full post here


It’s not just London on the 28th.

Big Sur Marathon

Zurich Marathon

Hamburg Marathon