Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
12 Mar 2015
1:00 pm

Ramaala gears up for Two Oceans return

Wesley Botton

Sprightly veteran athlete Hendrick Ramaala says he will be better prepared next month, as he aims to improve on his impressive debut last year at the Old Mutual Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town.

Hendrick Ramaala (2nd men) during The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on April 19, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

The four-time Olympian took second place at the 2014 edition of the 56km race in 3:11:33, less than two minutes behind Lebenya Nkoka of Lesotho.He had hoped to compete in a 42km standard marathon overseas last season but did not receive an attractive offer from race organisers and entered Two Oceans on the eve of the race.

“I’ve done more long training runs this time because it was a tough race last year,” Ramaala said, confirming his entry for the Western Cape race over Easter weekend.

“My calves and the soles of my feet were very sore, and it was a battle for survival. “I don’t want to feel like that again, wanting to stop running over the last 14km, so I’ll be ready.”

The 43-year-old former New York Marathon winner is up against a strong field, however, with the country’s two top professional outfits, Nedbank Running Club and Maxed Elite, announcing impressive line-ups for the race.

National marathon record holder Gert Thys and versatile former track star Shadrack Hoff were confirmed in the entry lists. Defending champion Nkoka was set to lead the international charge, along with Ethiopian Gashaw Asfaw who won the 2006 Paris Marathon in 2:08:03.

In the women’s race, former national marathon champion Charne Bosman, who was second at the 2013 Two Oceans, was expected to spearhead the domestic contingent.

Defending champion Nina Podnebesnova of Russia was also confirmed in the line-up, as well as former Amsterdam Marathon winner Shitaye Gemechu of Ethiopia, who holds a seven-year-old 42km personal best of 2:26:10, and Zimbabwean Tabitha Tsatsa, the 2013 Two Oceans champion.