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The Best Run Of Her Life

Published 6 years ago
By Forbes Woman Africa

Caroline Wöstmann is like an energizer bunny, always on the go. She barely breaks a sweat as she jets up the unending flight of steps to her office kitted in running gear. The 32-year-old mother of two won the women’s race earlier this year at the 56 kilometer Two Oceans ultra-marathon in Cape Town. She ran the distance in three hours, 41 minutes and 23 seconds, becoming the first South African woman  to win in 14 years.

A lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Wöstmann only started running six years ago, to alter her lifestyle after giving birth to her first child. She’s not a professional marathoner.

At first, she began by running around her neighborhood in Pretoria, South Africa, where she lives. The first day was a challenge but she soon found a rhythm to the routine.

“Running allows you to relate to everyone. You can understand the dream to win just as you understand the dream to just finish a race. It’s so individual. Everyone can experience the same amount of joy or devastation,” she says.

Her first attempt at the ultra-marathon in 2013 was a harrowing experience. The weeks of intense training gave her a stress fracture. Not knowing the extent of her injuries, she ignored the pain and ran the marathon.

“During the race, the pain got so bad, I couldn’t walk anymore. Eventually I managed to hobble to the end and finish but I found out that week that my fibula was actually broken.”

Wöstmann was hesitant to do the race again, the memory of her fracture still fresh. She began a rehabilitation program, working on her muscle imbalances.

“Maybe naturally I wasn’t built strong enough but by doing strength work and training and fixing those imbalances, I was able to train harder,” she says.

Although her focus is on the Comrades Marathon (at the end of May), the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon run annually in KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa, she is using local marathons as training platforms.

“Two Oceans was just meant to be training for my Comrades build-up. I had one of those days where everything fell into place. If you get an opportunity like that, you can’t bypass it. I was having the best run of my life.”

The Two Oceans route includes a breathtaking view of the sea to Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and Constantia Nek. With the recent fires in Cape Town, which began in Muizenberg fanned by strong winds that soon spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and Tokai, the Two Oceans route had to be changed to include a steeper incline.

“It was a much easier route for me because my bone wasn’t broken,” she laughs now.

Recharged after her recent win, she is working towards her next goal – coming in the top three at the Comrades. Juggling lectures, a family and her sport, every day is a marathon for her and she’s in it to win.

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Related Topics: #56 Kilometers, #Caroline Wöstmann, #June 2015, #Marathon, #Race, #Two Oceans.