Magawana's Two Oceans record safe

2002-03-25 21:34

Cape Town - It is hard to imagine that there will ever be another athlete like Thompson Magawana who came and smashed the Old Mutual Two Oceans ultra-marathon record so completely. Magawana was almost one of a kind.

This was the view of one of the best distance runners South Africa has ever produced, Zithulele Singe when he was asked whether the late Magawana's record was in any danger on Saturday.

Magawana astonished the athletics world in 1988 when he tore through the gruelling 56km ultra-marathon in just 3 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds.

He achieved this marvelous feat by racing up Chapman's Peak while all the time conserving enough power to conquer the steep climb of Constantia Nek.

Singe also delivered on of the most remarkable performances on South African soil to date when he set a new national marathon record of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 4 seconds in the Port Elizabeth marathon.

He then disappeared for some years before returning to make a couple of attempts at Magawana's Two Oceans record.

His first attempt was in 1996 when he won the race in a time of 3:09:45. A year later, aged 33, he won brilliantly in a time of 3:07:17, a good four minutes faster than the winning time of last year's champion, the Zimbabwean Honest Mutsakani.

"I think that if you want to break Magawana's record you must be willing to run the marathon in 2 hours 8 minutes. Athletes who are that fit would then rather go and earn big money overseas," Singe said.

Singe praised Magawana as a fearless runner who were always ready to run like a hare from the word go and who was at his devastating best when he succeeded in maintaining that pace throughout a race.

In the women's race few are interested in making an assault at Frith van der Merwe's 1989 route record of 3:30:36

Both Magawana and Van der Merwe set unofficial world records over 30 miles and 50km on their way to their Two Oceans records.

Magawana ran the 30 miles in 2:37:31 and passed the 50km in 2:43:38 as if there were no hills between the marks. Van der Merwe's world records were 3:01:16 and 3:08:39.

The winners of the men's and women's race in the Two Oceans will each receive R100 000 in prize money. The prize for bettering the record is R25 000 and thus no great assault is expected on two of the greatest records ever set in South Africa.