The Kenyans are coming – for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon

OMTOM_logoWith Old Mutual having pledged R1million each to the first male and female runner to break the course record for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in 2014, interest in the race is being shown from all quarters with the most recent confirmation being that the Kenyans are coming.

Several Kenyan runners will be part of the Old Mutual Running Club starting line up for this year’s race. They include Dubai Marathon 2011 winner, David Barmasai and fearless fast runner Nickson Kipketer Koech, who are both serious challengers for the record.

Breaking the record is going to be a tall ask: the women’s course record has stood for 25 years when in 1989, on a brutally hot day, Frith van der Merwe set an astonishingly fast pace to finish in a winning time of 3:30:36

One year earlier in1988, the late Thompson Magawana, running his first Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, bettered the course record by 6 seconds in a winning time of 3:03:44

The closest any runner has come since then is Zimbabwean Marko Mambo, who ran 3:05:39 in 2005, who has won the race three times. Russian Olesya Nurgalieva ran the second fastest women’s time in 2008 when she crossed the finish line in 3:34:53. Olesya has a personal best marathon time of two hours and 27 minutes.

The R1 million course record now makes the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon the most rewarding road race in the Southern Hemisphere and the richest ultra-marathon in the world.

Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, General Manager Marketing for Old Mutual says, “We want to encourage top runners from around South Africa and the rest of Africa to come and compete in the biggest road running event on the African continent.”

The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon attracts 16 000, 10 000, 7 000 and 1 000 ultra, half-marathon, fun and trail runners respectively.

Look out for more updates on leading contenders in the ultra-marathon.

David Barmasai – Date of Birth 01 January 1989
David hails from the Rift Valley region in Kenya which produces many world class athletes. He is one of those athletes who has participated in some of the biggest races on the world stage. In 2011 he won the richest race in the world (USD250 000) in that of the Dubai Marathon in a time of 2H07. David will be representing Old Mutual Running Club at the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56km Marathon in 2014, which is offering the highest incentive and combined prize money which makes this years race the richest Ultra marathon in the world. With an incentive of R1 000 000 David is in the business of winning these big races.

16 Apr 2012 Boston Marathon 8th
04 Sep 2011 IAAF World Championships, Daegu 5th 2:11:37

21Jan11 Dubai Marathon 1st 2:07:18
31Oct10 Nairobi Marathon 1st 2:10:31
13Dec09 Eldoret Marathon 1st 2:16:00

David Barmasai Tumo’s undefeated three-race marathon win streak came to an end at the 2011 IAAF World Championships but he did pick up a WMM scoring point with his fifth place finish.
After a modest 2:16 victory at Eldoret in 2009, he shocked many of his more accomplished countrymen with another win on home soil with a 2:10:31 (40 seconds victory margin) at Nairobi in 2010.
Three months later at Dubai he went through the first half in 1:02:46 and while slowing over the final 21.1 km, Barmasai still won by almost a full minute.

Personal Bests
Event Result Venue Date
10 km Road 28:53 Appingedam (NED)
15 km Road 45:14 Nijmegen (NED)
Marathon 2:07:18 Dubai (UAE)

David will be preparing specifically for the additional 14km after marathon distance. “I never thought of running the 56km race until I had spoken with my Manager and we decided that this would be a good challenge for me. As far as I know there has only ever been one Kenyan to win this race so I see this as a good Challenge and something that I want to do for my country. Running 56km won’t hurt my marathon running but I feel it will be excellent for me and will only assist me with the additional endurance which will benefit me in the second half of the year where I plan to run a sub 2H05:30 marathon.  I have looked at the course and will prepare specifically for it and I do feel that a time of sub 3H03 is possible and I have a time in mind that I want to run. I ran 2H10 in Nairobi at High Altitude and 2H07 in Dubai in harsh weather conditions so I feel that running in Cape Town at sea level I will be able to do what I set out to do.”

2). Nickson Kipketer Koech  – Kenyan
Nickson is a training partner with David Barmasai and has a best time of 62 mins for a half marathon in Kenya and a 2H14 Marathon time in 2012 achieved at Yingkou in China.  A fast improving athlete who holds no fear and is a very strong hill climber.  Nickson’s training times suggest that he is getting into some good form and is in shape to run a sub 2H09 marathon time based on the Yasso 800s theory, which has proven to be an extremely accurate measurement for many athletes. “I am very excited to come to South Africa to run the world famous 56km race in April as I think this will be a big challenge and I see this as a big stepping stone in my career. Training with an Athlete like David has taught me discipline as well as what it takes to run the big races. I have improved a tremendous amount over the last 12 months and I feel that my leg speed and strength is there. I have always been strong on tough courses as we train at high altitude and on very undulating routes in Kenya.”

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