Bruce Grierson - Two Oceans Story

After a bit of prompting from my fellow Yellowwood Park Athletics Club runners, I decided to run my first Two Oceans Marathon in 1990. We (9 of us) would drive down in a sponsored mini-bus, and spend a few days down there.

I ran in, and qualified, in the then Besenol (Hillcrest) Marathon in 03:29, which was also my first marathon. I was sore for about a week after that. I was worried about how I would feel after running 56km, but my running "buddies" assured me that it was a walk in park. Ever heard the saying "if you can do 42, then you can do 56?" Ja-right...

I ran in, and completed the race in 05:39, and could hardly walk the next few days, probably due to my under-training (nothing's changed much since then either). Like most novices, I bolted the first half, doing 28 km in 2:04. I then got into the results book for the wrong reasons. It took me nearly 4 hours to do the second half, one of the slowest second half times that year. Luckily, we learn from our mistakes.

For the next 10 years I only ran up to 21 km races, still for Yellowwood Park, even though I'd been living up here since 1990.

Then, in 2000, Anthony Holmes persuaded me to join EAC. He really didn't like my canary yellow Yellowwood Park club colours. I ran 2 voyages for EAC before joining and running the next 7 in UAC colours.

Apart from 2002, I have run Two Oceans every year since 2000.
My 2000 run with Mike and Cathy was one I will never forget. I couldn't find them at the start, so I went and started right at the back. I found them about 3 km into the race, where they had just come out from a toilet stop. At about the 46 km mark Cathy stopped me and asked if I was alright. I told her that I wasn't feeling well. She gave me a Vooma, or something in that line, and within minutes I was fine again. Up to that time I hadn't taken anything to help with my run, and it came back to haunt me big time. I actually enjoyed the rest of that run, even though I lost them with about 4 km to go.

My worst run was in 2005, where I nearly bailed at the 9 km mark. I had stopped and was standing with Lynn Bannock, ready to climb into the car with her, when Phillip Chandler came past, and asked me what I was doing there. I told him that I was bailing. He told me to run with him for a while, and then see how I feel. If it hadn't been for Phillip I wouldn't have carried on. He ran with me for about 20 km, then told me to bugger-off , as I was messing up his heart rate monitor as he was running too fast. That year I ended up with a 05:58.

My best run was in 2006 when, with an injury, I did a 05:03. We met Zelda at the Waterfront for dinner, and the first thing Zelda said to me was "couldn't you make up the 3 minutes." I actually heard the gun go off for the Sainsbury medal as I was entering the stadium, but from 10 km out, I already knew that it was going to be an battle.

I've run both the Chapman's Peak and Ou Kaapse Weg route a few times, and have run in a black south-easter that blew you all over the road.

This year, even though I had run it 9 times before, and I knew the route blindfolded, I was still nervous. It's as if there is more pressure on you to finish, and your yellow number stands out quite clearly amongst the other numbers. After 9 years of wishing others well on their way to their 10th voyage, the attention was now focused on me.

Many of those wishing me well were novices. But just like them, I too was also a novice 20 years back, and they will also one day be where I was this year, and it's then their turn to have the attention focused on them.

Thanks to Trish and Candice for their company on this years run.
I had thought of taking a break from Two Oceans for a while, and concentrating on other runs I haven't done before, but they have a special medal for 2010, so I'll just have to do that one as well. Then take a break from it...

For those of you that have never run it before, it isn't called the "most beautiful marathon in the world" for nothing.
Just run one, and you'll be back again.