Five-star Steyn in league of her own in Two Oceans

Gerda Steyn finished 24th overall in the Two Oceans. | Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers.

Gerda Steyn finished 24th overall in the Two Oceans. | Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers.

Published Apr 15, 2024




IT DOESN’T get better than this!

Those were the initial words uttered by Gerda Steyn on becoming the undisputed champion of the Two Oceans Marathon with her fifth successive victory in the 56km Mother City ultra.

And it really doesn’t.

Gerda Steyn finished 24th overall in the Two Oceans. | Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers.

No athlete, man or woman, has ever won the race aptly nicknamed the world’s most beautiful marathon five times. Before Saturday, it was only Steyn herself, Monica Droegemoller and Ekena Nurgalieva who had four victories apiece.

Steyn did what she has come to be known for at the weekend, leaving the opposition in her wake to now stand at the top of the Two Oceans leader board with five titles – successive ones at that.

What made Steyn’s feat all the more remarkable was the fact that she again won in a new record time of 3:26:54, having done so in each of the previous two editions.

Speaking after the race, Steyn attributed her victory to “a long build up”.

“This was my big target for the year. I was focused 100% on this day, on this moment, this specific course,” she gushed.

While she spoke about the record at the pre-race media conference, she said after her victory that it was not something she gave too much thought to during the race.

“I did know that I was on record pace. I had a plan in mind coming into the race but in the latter stages of the race I did not focus on the time but was more focused on the finish line so I do not get overtaken.

“And then when I saw the time I tried to sprint a little to make it under 3:27. But it does not matter by how much time. Just to break the record is a real privilege.”

So good was Steyn’s run that she finished in 24th place overall in the race, not only beating her friend Irvette van Zyl – who got accidentally tripped and fell at about the 4km mark but got up to finish second in 3:29:30, as she did two years ago – and Loveness Madziva (3:38) in third place, but some established men as well.

Klerksdorp’s Onalenna Khonkhobe became the first South African since 2019 to win the Two Oceans men’s race on Saturday. | Leon Lestrade Independent Newspapers.

The men’s race was a tight affair but Onalenna Khonkhobe won as he had promised in the pre-race media conference. Running in only his second Two Oceans, the Potchefstroom-based athlete coached by Pio Mpolokeng clocked 3:09:30 to beat defending champion Givemore Mudzingnnyama (3:11:13) into third place . Khonkhobe’s Nedbank Running Club teammate Lloyd Bosman was second in 3:09:58.

“I’m feeling happy and excited. At 35km I remembered the words I said (at the pre-race conference), that I want everyone to acknowledge me, then this when I started to feel comfortable. When I saw my watch saying 2km to go, I thought I am going to entertain the people out there.”

While he had a fascinating duel with Bosman as they exchanged the lead towards the end, Khonkhobe said he knew he had the beating of his club mate.

“When I remembered 2022 (the first time he ran the race and finished in sixth place), I knew that Constantia Nek is difficult and when Lloyd took the lead I was smiling to myself, saying I am going to beat him.”

And beat him he did to become a winner of a massive race, announcing himself as a force in the country no doubt.