RACE REPORT – Two Oceans Half Marathon 2023 – come for the vibe, not the goodie bag by Lauren Tuck

If you’re on the Cape Town Runners Facebook group you’ll be well aware of the displeasure around the gigantic queues, generously sized shirts and (lack of) goodie bag caused. The five toilets at the start weren’t awesome either, but if we didn’t have toilet queues to hang out in at the start would it even be Oceans? The seeding and subs process was also a bit iffy to be honest, when you pass A seeds walking in the first 5km while R seeds who haven’t even officially started yet come sprinting past and there are big burly dudes wearing tags that say Stephanie and Ami you start to question things a little.

Jokes and problems aside the weather couldn’t have been better, we all sang the national anthem proudly (and even loudly when we got to the Afrikaans bit that the paler ‘elder millennials’ actually remember) and the start went pretty smoothly. Personally, my race went about as well as I could have hoped. Six weeks out from the race I threw my back out and a week before I picked up a delightful sinus infection, so the elusive sub-2 was unlikely to be mine (again).

I was off pace from the start, I couldn’t get my legs to move fast enough and when the sub-2 bus cruised past me at 7km I tried briefly to keep up and then realised that I would probably vomit on the side of the road if I carried on. So, I took a massive chill pill and decided to keep on cruising. I met some cool people on the road, enjoyed the gees from the impressive crowds of supporters and felt like a rock star when people called my name. Southern Cross… happened… and then it was over, and then the utterly dreadful Rhodes Avenue was upon me. The camber was a killer as always and I dropped my sense of humour somewhere as my left quad started cramping.

As I approached the finish I was, quite literally, pushed up the hill by a fellow Fish Hoekian who informed me he has been trying to catch me for 6km and under no circumstances was I allowed to walk. I did my best to oblige but at this stage I’d decided if I ran a 2:05 or a 2:07 it made absolutely no difference and honestly my under-trained legs were crying, and it was all I could do to carry on. I crawled over the line in 2:07:23, which turned out to be a Two Oceans Half PB by 35 seconds, and promptly got lost in the thousands strong crowd trying to find my way out.

Someone asked me if it was fun and I reflexively said no it was awful, but honestly, I must enjoy it on some deep dark level because that was number 6 in the bag and I’ll probably be back again next year, unless I decide to find some big girl pants and attempt the ultra. The vibe is second to none, the route is beautiful (albeit lacking in oceans) and it’s a bucket list run for a reason.

See you in 2024!

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