Caroline Wöstmann (KPMG) gave new meaning to the words ‘training run’ when she won the Old Mutual Two Oceans women’s ultra-race for a second successive year. She won in 3 hours 44 minutes and 44 seconds, with Tanith Maxwell second in 3:45:55 and Ethiopia’s Amelework Fikadu Bosho third in 3:47:40. Charné Bosman (Nedbank) was fourth in 3:48:40 and 51-year-old Colleen De Reuck, a former South African Olympian who now resides in the USA, fifth in 3:53:07. Wöstmann is the first South African athlete yet to have won all three major local ultra-races (Two Oceans, Comrades and Om die Dam) within 12 months.
Wöstmann made it clear last week that winning the Two Oceans this year was not part of her planning. She said: ‘It is a long-training run and I have not tapered at all for it. The plan is to run the first 45 kilometres at an easy pace and then up my race tempo over the last few kilometres so that I can get used to finishing fast on tired legs. Hopefully I will still be able to sneak into the top ten but I don’t think I will get a top finish.’ If ever an athlete had executed a plan to perfection it was Wöstmann on Saturday.
She did exactly what she said she was going to do. The athlete who trains at the HPC in Pretoria says: ‘The first 48 kilometres just ‘breezed’ by so quickly. I could not believe how good I felt. At that stage I was third overall. From the start the plan was to run the last 60 minutes as fast as I could to get used to racing on tired legs. When I caught the race leaders with about two kilometres to go the adrenaline really kicked in.’ Wöstmann impressed the ‘experts’ by running the last 10 or so kilometres at a pace of 3 minutes and 52 seconds per kilometre.
She compared it to running a fast 8 km time trial, saying: ‘Over the last few hundred metres I was worried that Tanith may catch up with me again. I then did something I don’t like to do, namely to glance backwards. The reason why I don’t like doing this is that you cannot change anything anyway. When I could not see Tanith I relaxed and began to savour the moment.’ As to winning the Two Oceans for a second time, Wöstmann says: ‘Last year was such a surprise. It was unexpected for everyone but more specifically for me. I never thought I was the kind of athlete who can win the Two Oceans therefore it will forever be one of my favourite running moments. To be able to come back to defend my title when I was not expecting it is simply incredible.’