Fri, 06 Dec 2019

Cape Town - The Two Oceans Marathon appears to once again find itself in a state of chaos some 150 days out from its Easter Saturday running on April 11, 2020.

Organisers on Tuesday finally released information regarding entries for the 56km ultra-marathon (still no news on Half-Marathon or Trail run entries) - giving potential runners fewer than 48 hours' notice until they open.

Oh, and there was a nasty price hike shock to boot.

According to the official website, entries for Blue numbers (runners who have completed 10 or more ultras) and Yellow numbers (runners running their 10th ultra) will open at 10:00 on Thursday, November 14.

Entries will cost R600 - up 20% on last year's R500 fee.

Also opening on Thursday at 10:00 will be Africa (rest of the continent) entries (at R750) and International entries - at a staggering R2 100.

Everyone else (South Africans with eight or fewer finishers) will have to wait until 10:00 on Monday, November 18 to enter and those entries will go into a ballot. Entries will close on Monday, November 25 at 17:00.

Ballot entries essentially make securing one's spot in the 13 000-strong field, a lottery.

The Two Oceans has been fraught with disaster in recent years.

Old Mutual didn't renew its headline sponsorship deal following this year's race, nor did technical sponsors from 2019, Adidas.

With less than five months until race day, the country's second biggest ultra-marathon remains without a title sponsor.

Not lost on the running community is the fact that Comrades 2020 entries have already opened - and sold out - for a race scheduled for two months after the Two Oceans!

The 2019 edition of the Two Oceans was plagued by organisational issues with complaints prior to the race regarding the shortage of pre-ordered T-shirts and long queues at the Expo, and post-race due to the lack of water on offer.

In addition to reports of unpaid bills for services rendered which ended up in the hands of the CCMA, race organisers were forced into an 11th-hour change of route due to the "real and credible" threat of protest action in the Hout Bay Imizamo Yethu informal settlement area just short of the marathon mark.

The Relay Race - which was a late inclusion into this year's programme to generate additional funds - was also cancelled.

It's unclear whether organisers have seen fit to approach the Imizamo Yethu community to discuss the possibility of a repeat threat - or if a change in route is being contemplated.

Organisers were also forced to apologise for running out of certain medals after numerous complaints.

There was also outrage among those wishing to watch what as the 50th edition of the iconic race on TV after SABC bailed on screening the race for the first time in decades. The lack of TV exposure is understandably another reason potential sponsors are reluctant to put pen to paper.

The running community predictably reacted with anger at Tuesday's entry announcement with the lack of correspondence via social media - and general haphazard handling of affairs - being the major gripe.

One hopes newly appointed race director Debra Barnes is able, in a limited time frame, to pull a rabbit out the hat and appease a host of disgruntled athletes.

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