The fairy tale of an accounting lecturer of Pretoria who became one of the country’s best road runners still knows no end.
The 32-year old Caroline Wöstmann, who began running to lose weight after the birth of her first child, won the women’s race in the famous 56km Two Oceans ultra-marathon in a time of 3 hours, 41 minutes and 23 seconds the past weekend.
She runs in the colours of the Nedbank club With this victory. The friendly mother of two daughters and lecturer at Wits University made history again. She became the first South African woman in 14 years to win the title in this prestigious ultra marathon. After the race, it was difficult for Wöstmann to restrain her excitement.
She said she was well prepared and although she initially just hoped for a top ten place, she felt very good during the whole race. Yet it was a great moment for her when she passed the 35-year old Nina Podnebesnova from Russia near the finish line to take the lead. The victory on Saturday also improved Wöstmann’s bank account with a hefty R250 000.
Wöstmann did not know immediately what her prize money was. She said it would come in handy for a decent holiday with her family as she now wants to rest properly before her final preparations for this year’s Comrades marathon.
Wöstmann started out on her own six years ago,. She was quickly spotted by experts after she earned a silver medal in 2012 with a time of 7 hours and 16 minutes in only her third Comrades marathon. Thereafter she was supported by the Nedbank professional team and the High Performance Centre (hpc) of the University of Pretoria.
Last year, Wöstmann was sixth in the Comrades marathon and the first South African woman to finish. It was only her fourth attempt in the Comrades, six years after she started running. After many other achievements and the constant improvement of her personal best times she was also named Athletics Gauteng North’s female Athlete of the Year recently. Wöstmann’s coach at the hpc, Lindsey Parry, described her as a ‘late developer’.
“In 2010 her personal best time in the 10km was about 56 minutes and for 21km it was 1 hour and 50 minutes. At the beginning of last year, her best marathon time was just over 3 hours, but by the end of the year it has improved to 2 hours and 43 minutes in quite windy conditions,” he said.
“She would possibly have run a much faster marathon time had she started earlier, just focusing on the marathon. Caroline is one of those athletes who just get stronger and stronger. It is also a result of the extremely consistent training she has been doing.”
Another top Pretoria athlete, Charné Bosman, finished in fifth place in the Two Oceans. She is also coached at the hpc by Perry.
The men’s race was won by Motlokoa Nkhabutlane from Lesotho in a time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and 27 seconds.