Burnina rubber for bia race Comrades Marathon defending champion Bongmusa Mthembu will be gunning for the Two Oceans Marathon. Photo by Gallo Images By CHARLES BALOYI IT’S that time of the year when thousands of enthusiastic runners will flock to Cape Town for the Easter weekend to take part in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. The popular ultra marathon is celebrating a milestone, as this year’s race is its 50th edition. The 56km marathon will take place in the Mother City on Saturday. It starts at Main Road, Corner Dean Street, Newlands, at 6.40am and finishes at the University of Cape Town’s Rugby Fields, Upper Campus in Rondebosch. There will be a smell of burned rubber as 13 000 runners have registered to compete in the ultra marathon, with the purse prize of R250 000. The half marathon race is scheduled to start at 6.20am with 16 000 runners expected to line up the streets of Cape Town. Talk of this year’s marathon is all about breaking the long standing 31 year record set by Thompson Magawana 3:08:44 and Frith van der Merwe 3:30:36 . It will be a star studded affair, as the big names in long distance running from all over the continent will grace one of Mzansi’s biggest marathon events. Former winner Lebenya Nkoka of the Nedbank Running Club from Lesotho, Prodigal Khumalo from Zimbabwe Maxed Elite and his training partner Collen Makaza, Justin Kemboi from Kenya Nedbank and comrades marathon title holder Bongmusa Mthembu of Arthur Ford, are some of the op runners to keep an eye on. Last year’s champion in the women’s race, Gerda Steyn of Nedbank and her teammate Mamorallo Tjoka, are the favourites to walk away with the highest accolade. The famous Phalula twins, Lebo and Lebogang, will hit the road to battle it out with Cape Town’s darling Nolene Conrad, the winner of the 21,1km women’s race last year. Zimbabwe’s road running sensation Rutendo Nyahora, the winner of the half marathon in 2017 is also in the running to win the women’s category. In the men’s half marathon, Boxer Running Club ace and four times winner Stephen Mokoka and Elroy Gelant of Nedbank will push each other hard for the highest place on the podium. Mokoka said: “I want to enjoy the road and put the track aside this year. I feel motivated and ready.