Get ready for the Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon

Defending champion Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl will once again battle it out for the Women's Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon title.

Defending champion Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl will once again battle it out for the Women's Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon title.

Published Mar 3, 2023


With less than 40 days to go to the world’s most scenic race, the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon (TTOM) is shaping up to be an elite fest with a stellar field once again lining up on the weekend of Saturday, 15 and Sunday, 16 April 2023 for the Ultra and Half Marathon respectively.

The cream of South Africa’s long-distance athletes as well some of the world’s most renowned distance runners, will be looking to put their best foot forward in both the male and female Half (21.1km) and (56km) Ultra Marathon.

Incentive for breaking the Ultra Marathon Record confirmed by title sponsor, Totalsports

Once again, any athlete who breaks the record in the Men’s or Women’s Ultra Marathon Race can look forward to a record incentive of R250 000 in cash.

With prize money for the Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon at R250 000, any record-breaker could look forward to a massive R500 000 pay day on 15 April 2023.

Nkosikhona “Pitbull” Mhlakwana states his intention to clinch the Men’s Ultra Title

Nkosikhona ‘Pitbull’ Mhlakwana plans to beat his second place showing in last year’s Men’s Ultra Marathon race in the Totalsports Two Oceans Ultra Marathon 2023.

Nkosikhona “Pitbull” Mhlakwana, who made a sensational Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon debut last year, lived up to his nickname showing tremendous tenacity finishing in a superb second place behind Ethiopia’s Ednale Bellachew and Sboniso Sikhakhane coming in third.

As expected, the 30-year-old from Howick, just outside Pietermaritzburg, considers himself to be a bit stronger and wiser, and determined to go one better this year.

“My main goal is to improve my position from last year,” says Mhlakwana.

The Hollywood Athletic club athlete says he picked up invaluable experience last year and now knows what to expect.

“Yes, I learnt that at Two Oceans you need to know exactly what time you are intending to run. You also need to respect the competitors, but not fear them. There are always guys from Zimbabwe and Lesotho. But now the Ethiopians and Kenyans have also come to the party. I know everyone is depending on me to do well, but I am not going to put myself under pressure to deliver on the day. It is only motivating me to work harder than I did last year.

“The first quarter of the year has gone well. I won the Bhekizwizwe Joseph Shabalala Marathon in 2 hours 18 minutes on 11 February, which was my qualifier for Two Oceans. That tells me my training is on course. I am happy and injury free, and can’t wait for 15 April.

“The Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon is an unpredictable race. All you can do is to prepare as best as you can. Now it’s all about going out to improve on my performance from last year and be in the best possible condition when I step up to the start line,” adds Mhlakwana.

Epic battle looms in the Women’s Ultra Marathon Race

Another epic battle for supremacy is expected this year in the women’s Ultra. Gerda Steyn and ASICS athlete, Irvette van Zyl, who both shattered Frith van der Merwe’s longstanding women’s 56km record of 3:30:36 set way back in 1989, have confirmed they will both line up again this year.

Steyn (3:29:42) became the first woman to run the gruelling route in sub 3:30. In the process, she also became the first athlete in 22 years to win three consecutive titles. The 32-year-old returns this year in a bid to be crowned champion for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time.

The three-time champion, who will be running in her permanent blue number, 6067, will, however, not have it all her own way, with the 34-year-old Van Zyl (3:30:31) finishing just a few seconds behind her last year. The purists can be rest assured that Van Zyl will come out guns blazing and ready for another classic battle with Steyn.

Steyn says she is very excited to be preparing for the Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon again. “This will be my fifth time running the race, and I am really hoping for a fourth win after taking the title three times in a row now. I am very excited to get the fourth one as well. Last year was such a highlight for me. I am just hoping to repeat that experience and that win. The preparations until now have been going well, which makes me even more excited for the race,” she adds.

Steyn feels the next three to four weeks will be crucial to her preparations.

Reigning Women’s Ultra Marathon Champion to run in her permanent blue number

“I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to go as well as it has been going. Another very exciting aspect of this year’s Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon is that it will be the first time that I will be running in my permanent number in any race” says Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon 2022 Ultra Marathon champion, Gerda Steyn.

“I’ll be running in my blue number which is also very special. There are not many who managed to achieve that prestigious blue number. Usually, one has to complete 10 Ultra Marathons, but I managed to win the race three times, therefore earned a blue number. This brings a very special touch for me, personally, this year. At the moment I am preparing for the Two Oceans in Johannesburg. The energy level and excitement is at an all-time high.”

“I want to wish all the other runners the best of luck with the preparations that are lying ahead. Be careful, safe and vigilant on the roads, but most importantly, enjoy the process. I hope to see you all with the cherry on top being Race Day on 15 April,” adds Steyn.

Battle for supremacy in the Half Marathon

If excitement levels are high for the Ultra on the Saturday, the battle for supremacy in the Half Marathon on Sunday, 16 April, will be even higher. The likes of previous winners Stephen Mokoka, Elroy Gelant as well as Precious Mashele from the Boxer Athletic Clubs have all confirmed their entries. Moses Tarakinyu from Zimbabwe is back to defend his title with Entsika’s Desmond Mokgobu also looking to improve on his third place from last year.

Last year’s winner, Fortunate Chidzivo, will not be lining up to defend her title in the women’s Half Marathon this year, which leaves the race wide open for a new champion to be crowned.