Van Zyl, Oldknow and Mokoka gearing up for Two Oceans marathon

08 March 2024 - 10:40
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Cian Oldknow, left, Stephen Mokoka and Irvette van Zyl will carry the hopes of Hollywood Athletics Club at the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town next month.
Image: MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE Cian Oldknow, left, Stephen Mokoka and Irvette van Zyl will carry the hopes of Hollywood Athletics Club at the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town next month.

Cian Oldknow is targeting a podium finish at the hugely popular Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town next month, which is expected to draw top local and international athletes. 

Oldknow, who recently finished 15th in the Zurich Marathon de Sevilla, was among top athletes including Irvette van Zyl and Stephen Mokoka who were confirmed by Hollywood Athletics Club (HAC) to take part in the race. 

Oldknow, 27, who will run in the half marathon category, said the Two Oceans marathon is important to her, given the bigger picture of the Olympics in France later this year. 

“It’s an important race for me. I*it is an exciting opportunity to test myself in a high-profile race. I know this is a prestigious race in South Africa and I will race hard and see what happens,” said Oldknow adding her focus is marathon training. 

“We are getting into marathon training, which is the focus at the moment. I would like to go for a podium finish. I have done a half marathon before as a junior and I am a completely different athlete now. 

“I would really like to push my limits and see how close I can get to first place. I am definitely going for a podium finish. With any race, you know what time you are aiming for and what pace you will be going for. 

“This is while taking into account the up and down hills because if you run the best possible race, you will put yourself in the best position to do well. I have gained a lot of confidence in marathons. I am really good at longer distances where you have to pace yourself and I have taken a lot in terms of trusting my legs.” 

The other podium hopeful for HAC is veteran Van Zyl, who has a chance to dethrone Gerda Steyn by winning on her third attempt. She also has the Olympics in  mind.

“Every time it’s the Olympic year, athletes seem to be on the next level. I think it brings out the best out in you and the athletes around you. I am not yet secured in the team for the Olympics but I am keeping in mind there is an opportunity I could go,” said the 36-year-old. 

“I want to go to the Olympics because I have a score to settle there because of my history with the games. It will be a good year if I can win Two Oceans and go to the Olympics and finish my business that has been going on for years now.  

“I want it bad but if you want something too bad it becomes an obsession and I don’t want to be like that. I j want to be at the start and feeling healthy to do my best. Whatever the outcome, I would have tried my best.” 

In the men’s section, HAC’s hopes will rest on the likes of Mokoka, who also has the Olympic Games in mind. 

“I am taking everything step by step, I am training longer distances and I am enjoying the programme because the intensity is not that much. The problem is the volume  I am facing every day where I train like a mad person. 

“I have four weeks before the Two Oceans Marathon and I am at the stage where I am sharpening up. I am going to take everything step by step at the race, but the most important thing is to pace myself nicely and make sure I keep my heart rate at a normal pace,” said Mokoka. 

Hollywood Athletics Club athletes for the Two Oceans Marathon: 

𝗨𝗹𝘁𝗿𝗮 m𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗻: Irvette van Zyl, Loveness Madziva, Makhosi Mhlongo, Zinhle Shabalala, Melissa Jansen van Vuuren, Ts’epo Ramashamole, Joseph Seutloali, Stephen Mokoka 

𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗳 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗻: Cian Oldknow