Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
25 Feb 2016
3:53 pm

De Reuck returns ‘home’ for ultra debut

Wesley Botton

National women's marathon record holder Colleen de Reuck will return to South Africa this year to compete in the country's two most popular ultra-distance races.

Colleen de Reuck 1997 world athletics champs (IAAF) photo credit: - Tertius Pickard / Gallo Images

De Reuck would make her ultra debut at the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans in Cape Town next month, KPMG Running Club confirmed on Thursday, and she would turn out again for the professional outfit at the 89km Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal in May.

The 51-year-old athlete was one of the country’s top distance runners in the Nineties, setting the SA marathon record of 2:26:35 when she won the prestigious Berlin Marathon in 1996. Having represented her country of birth at three successive Olympic Games between 1992 and 2000, De Reuck took up US citizenship.

She went on to secure the bronze medal for her adoptive nation in the women’s 8km race at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships, and in 2004 she represented America in the marathon at the Athens Olympics.

Displaying her remarkable longevity, she clocked 2:49:56 at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles earlier this month. Despite her age, De Reuck’s strength and experience should place her among the favourites for both ultra titles.

Though she remains untested at any distance beyond 42km, she completed her first Iron Man triathlon in Hawaii last year in 10:30.41, giving an indication of the level of stamina and endurance she has at her disposal.

“It is a great honour for us to have Colleen make her ultra debut at the world’s most beautiful marathon,” said Two Oceans general manager Carol Vosloo.

“The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon always attracts a stellar field, and with Colleen participating this year we have no doubt that racing will be explosive on 26 March.”