The first runner to cross the finish line in the hotly contested 2014 Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon was Lebenya Nkoka. Spurred on by the jubilant cheers of the large crowd gathered at the UCT sports fields, he completed the gruelling 56 km course in a winning time of 03:09:52.
He won R 250 000 in prize money, as did the women’s race winner, Nina Podnebesnova who clocked in at 03:40:07.
Both narrowly missed the R1 million bonus prize that title sponsor Old Mutual pledged to give the winners who broke the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon records.
The men’s record of 3:03:44, set by the late Thompson Magawana in 1988, and the women’s mark of 3:30:36, set by Frith van der Merwe in 1989, have remained unchallenged for nearly three decades.
It is the first time a sponsor has offered such a lucrative bonus in an international ultra marathon race.
“We wanted to attract top athletes to Africa’s richest road race, and we are pleased to have achieved that goal,” said Old Mutual general manager of marketing Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe.
“Even though the race records set in the Eighties were not broken, despite the R1 million offered by Old Mutual, we are delighted to have further raised the profile and excitement level of this phenomenal event.
“Seeing the continent’s top runners take part in the world’s most beautiful marathon was a thrilling experience. Congratulations to everyone who completed the race and a big thank you to all the supporters and organisers for the magic they bring to this event.”