Gogo on the move

2015-04-30 16:56

THIS woman is not your ordinary gogo.

At an age when most pensioners are winding down their lives, Willemien Smuts of Danhof in Bloemfontein continues to run marathons.

The 74-year-old runner, who celebrated her birthday on Monday (30/03), will not be spending Good Friday with her family as she will be taking part in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon’s 10 km trail run in Cape Town on the same day on 3 April.

Smuts, a member of the Pentagon Pistols Running Club, will also be competing in the 21 km half-marathon event a day later.

And she will be the oldest runner who will be participating in both the trail run and half-marathon in this year’s Two Oceans Marathon.

The Free Stater has already completed 22 Old Mutual Two Oceans 56 km ultra-marathons and she will participate in her third half-marathon this weekend.

The keen runner, whose life revolves around running, hit the road to the Western Cape on Tuesday (31/03) – and she will have two days to rest and acclimatise to the Cape Town weather before her first race.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon will run along the detour route of Ou Kaapse Weg due to the recent devastating fires that raged along Cape Town’s southern peninsula, causing significant damage to Chapman’s Peak’s fragile vegetation.

“This is not a decision that was made lightly. We are responsible for every single runner on race day, so all decisions were made with this in mind,” said Carol Vosloo, general manager of the Two Oceans Marathon. “We remained hopeful that Chappies would be available to us until the very end. But it became clear that the extent of the damage done to the mountain, coupled with the vulnerability of the mountain pass to weather changes, would hold a significant safety risk for our runners and volunteers.

“It was simply a risk we were not willing to take, and we have always been very clear in our intention to place participants’ safety at the forefront of all planning,” Vosloo added.

“Although it is disappointing that the ultra-marathon will not traverse Chappies, a ‘certain’ race over Ou Kaapse Weg is preferable to one that may be interrupted if routed over Chapman’s Peak Drive,” she concludes.

Despite the route change, Old Mutual will still reward the winning male and female runners with R1 million for finishing the ultra-marathon in record time.

The men’s record of 3:03:44 was set in 1988 by road-running legend Thompson Magawana, while Frith van der Merwe set the women’s record a year later in 1989 when she ran 3:30:36

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