‘Galloping Granny’ approaching 20th Two Oceans


ANOTHER NOTCH IN HER BELT: Marlene Wiese of Port Alfred completed her 19th Two Oceans last weekend, having also completed 16 Comrades and 10 Washies since she started running 23 years ago Picture: CANDICE BRADFIELD

MARLENE Wiese, who is known as the “Galloping Granny” of the Kowie Striders, completed her 19th Two Oceans last weekend.

Unfortunately it started to rain shortly after the 12km mark and did not let up for the entire race.

“It was terrible,” she said.

Besides the pouring rain and the cold, runners had to push through deep mud at some points. However Wiese still managed to complete the race.

“I haven’t run one [Two Oceans] that I haven’t finished,” she said.

She said normally the view is beautiful if you can lift your head up, as the event takes place in Cape Town. It is also a good race for runners to do. She said the nice thing about taking part in these events is you know that everyone else is going through the same thing. She received a lot of encouragement from younger runners.

“It feels great when you see young people still behind you,” she joked.

Wiese, who is now 66 years old, had no interest in running when she was younger. At school she did korfball, similar to netball, and gymnastics. She only started running in 1989 after she lost her husband and was determined to get herself out of a rut. She was living in Durban at the time and her friend’s children, who had just joined a runners club, encouraged her to come with them.

What she likes about running is that it is a sport you can do on your own and it helps to keep your head clear.

Wiese runs four or five times a week which she said is very important, otherwise one can lose their fitness quickly. For two years she ran by herself but she now runs with Ilse Wicks who will be doing her 10th Comrades this year.

“Running with someone else increases your speed and gives you that push,” she said.

She wanted to thank everyone for their well wishes.

“They were all confident I would finish,” she said.

Her best Two Oceans was when she came second in her age group. She has had good times but said that the best part of these races was getting to the end and knowing that you had done it. The camaraderie and the spectators are what keep her going during the race.

“You can’t find anything better,” she said.

She has also done 16 Comrades, 10 Washies and several other races. Wiese advised those who would like to start doing the Comrades to wait until they are 30 years old as it is a tough race and slows you down.

“Keep it for later on and enjoy the short ones while you can,” she said.

Next year she will be running her 20th and final Two Oceans. It has always been her goal to reach 20 in one of the marathons and so will have accomplished what she set out to do.

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