“Chet Sainsbury, our friend, mentor, and OMTOM race director for almost 30 years, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Rest in peace,” the organisers announced on twitter.
Sainsbury was appointed Two Oceans race director in 1981 and played a key role in turning the annual 56km event in Cape Town into one of the most popular ultra-distance races in the world.
He stepped down in 2007 but returned as acting race director in 2014 before taking a back seat once again last year.
Sainsbury remained part of the organisation, however, as a member of the Two Oceans board.
An amateur runner, Sainsbury finished the Two Oceans ultra 32 times, completing the gruelling event for the last occasion in 2014.