It’s welcome back to Two Oceans Trail as Collin and Lijan take the honours

by Stephen Granger

Pretoria-based distance runner Collin Kanyimo, 37, raced to victory at the re-vamped Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Race, run over a challenging 24km course in ideal conditions this morning (30 July), with Stellenbosch athlete, Lijan van Niekerk, taking line honours in the women’s race.

It’s all smiles as Two Oceans Media Manager, Lindy-Joy Dennis congratulates Collin Kanyimo, winner of the Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

Cape Town athletes Siviwe Nkombi and Mariske Uys reigned supreme in the shorter-distance race, much of the 13km taking place on popular hiking trails in Newlands Forest.

It was a case of ‘happy returns’ for the Two Oceans trail races, which had become a regular fixture on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain over the Cape Town’s Two Oceans Marathon weekend for the past 15 years, but a combination of COVID and complexities around logistics around this year’s Two Oceans Marathon at Easter led to a three year hiatus following Kane Reilly and Cana Peek’s successes in the Two Oceans 24km trail race over Easter in 2019.

Dom Wills negotiates a technical descent from the Saddle. Wills will shortly be awarded his permanent number for having raced in ten Two Oceans Trail races. Photo – Action Photo SA

A feature of the event was the announcement that the top four Two Oceans Trail permanent numbers will be awarded to Landie Greyling (number 1 – for three wins), Kane Reilly (number 2 – for three wins), Dom Wills (number 3 – for completing ten trail races and pictured above in yesterday’s race) and Dave Bywater (number 4 – for completing ten trail races) at a special event in the near future.

From one champion to another – Kane Reilly, winner of the 2019 Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Run congratulates this year’s winner, Collin Kanyimo. Photo – Stephen Granger

A recent bout of COVID prevented Reilly from defending his title this year but the three-times champion, who is virtually unbeatable over the distance on Table Mountain trails and who leaves in two weeks to race in Europe, was on hand to congratulate Kanyimo as he crossed the line in 1 hr 58 min 40 sec – just three minutes off Reilly’s winning time on a different and slightly longer course, but similar in respect of total ascent and degree of difficulty.

 “I loved the race and conditions were perfect,” said Kanyimo, winner of last month’s prestigious Fedhealth Platinum 24km Trail Race in Gauteng. “I ran with some of the other guys in the beginning, but felt I needed to push on after a few kilometres and I managed to open a lead.   

“I come from a road-running background but got into trail to avoid the many leg injuries you get on the road. So now I love trails more than the road. But I need to take your mountain back home so I can train on the hills – in Pretoria and Johannesburg we have nothing!”

Collin Kanyimo checking the route direction in the lead at 9km. Photo – Stephen Granger

The ‘social running’ which saw a lead group of four running together in the early stages quickly ended as Kanyimo made his intentions clear at the start of the long climb into the heart of Newlands Forest just over 3.5km into the race. At the top of the climb, the Gauteng visitor was 16 seconds clear of Special Editions 25km and Old Fisherman’s Trail 24km winner, Kyle Bucklow, with Oi Morris a further 8 seconds back in third.

Marion Leiberich running in the race lead in the Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Run 9km into the race. Photo – Stephen Granger

Special Edition 25km and Ultra-trail Drakensberg 32km winner, German born athlete Marion Leiberich, held a 12 second gap on her AfricanX team partner, Lijan van Niekerk, in the women’s contest.

Five kilometres of forest trails later and the gap over Bucklow had grown to a minute, as Kanyimo ran strongly up to the start of the Woodcutters Trail. Leiberich had opened a similar margin in the women’s race, with Van Niekerk 52 seconds back in second. Jo Haw was running comfortably in third, six minutes behind Van Niekerk.

Kyle Bucklow cuts a shadowy figure running in second through Newlands Forest 9km into the race. Photo – Stephen Granger

Bucklow’s strength on the climb and knowledge of the course saw him close the gap on Kanyimo on the testing climb to the top of Newlands Ravine and closed further on his rival on the technical descent to the Middle Traverse.

“I was feeling good on the climb and descent and also was closing the gap on the contour trail around to the Kings Block House,” Bucklow reflected. “But once we approached the jeep tracks back down into Newlands Forest I knew I wouldn’t catch him – he was simply too fast.”

Oli Morris negotiates a river crossing in the first half of the race before racing on to claim third position. Photo – – Action Photo SA

The final fast kilometres played to Kanyimo’s road running strength and he raced home 63 seconds ahead of Bucklow with Morris running a strong second half to claim third in 2:03:03.

Van Niekerk used her speed on the descent to close the gap on Leiberich after the strong-climbing German had reached the Saddle in pole position.  Van Niekerk took the lead along Middle Traverse, running strongly to the finish to cross the line in 2:26:42 – twelve minutes inside Peek’s winning time in 2019.

In the zone – LIjan van Niekerk is all concentration as she chases race-leader Marion Leiberich 9km into the Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

“Marion is such a strong climber so I knew she would beat me to the top of Newlands Ravine,” said Van Niekerk.  But I felt good in the second half and am pleased to have won today.”

Leiberich, who has been struggling with a foot injury, held on to take second place, 3 min 45 sec back, with Haw clinching the final podium position.

The closest contest of the day came in the 13km race, where Nkombi and Jacques du Plessis matched each other stride for stride in the final kilometres before Nkombi’s finishing sprint proved decisive.  He crossed the finish line at the Imhoff Sports Grounds in Newlands in 56:34 to win by three seconds.

Mariska Uys savours the moment as she crosses the line to win the Two Oceans Short Distance Trail Run. Photo – Stephen Granger

37-year-old Franchhoek-based Uys, who returned to racing in February following the birth of her child, won in more relaxed fashion, her 1:22:04 winning time over six minutes clear of Joanne Burns.


Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Race 24km

Top three – Winner of the 2022 Two Oceans Long Distance Trail Run, Collin Kanyimo, is flanked by runner-up Kyle Bucklow (left) and third-placed Oli Morris. Photo – Stephen Granger

Men: 1 Collin Kanyimo 1:58:40; 2 Kyle Bucklow 1:59:43; 3 Oli Morris 2:03:03; 4 Kelton Miller 2:05:37; 5 Charl Cronje 2:11:12; 6 Sinovuyo Ngcobo 2:15:32; 7 Ivan Robinson 2:20:15; 8 Enrach Swanson 2:26:40; 9 Dave van Ginkel 2:35:24; 10 Dominic Wills 2:36:46

Veterans: 1 Van Ginkel; 2 Wills; 3 Nick Stodel 2:37:48

Masters: 1 Leor Atie 3:05:46; 2 Mick Pluddemann 3:22:45; 3 Andrew Smuts 3:26:09

Grandmasters: 1 Pieter Uys 3:13:53; 2 John Allies 4:11:10; 3 Gilead Stern 4:134:37

Two Oceans Chairperson, William Swartbooi, presents the Two Oceans Long Distance Trail winners trophy to Lijan Van Niekerk as runner-up Marion Leiberich looks on. Photo – Stephen Granger

Women: 1 Lijan Van Niekerk 2:26:42; 2 Marion Leiberich 2:30:27; 3 Jo Haw 2:44:51; 4 Esther Lategan 2:56:40; 5 Ridwana Babamia 3:09:36; 6 Hanlie Booyens 3:13:53; 7 Caitlin Perry 3:17:51; 8 Isobel Evans 3:20:09; 9 Paula le Roux 3:24:45; 10 Terry Deats 3:24:52

Veterans: 1 Lategan; 2 Booyens; 3 Le Roux

Masters: 1 Deats; 2 Roldah Orrie 3:26:55; 3 Stephanie Crossland 4:22:52

Two Oceans Short Distance Trail Race 13km


Winner of the Two Oceans Short Distance Trail Run , Siviwe Nkombi, is flanked by runners-up Jacques du Plessis (left) and Eduan Burger. Photo – Stephen Granger

Men: 1 Siviwe Nkombi 56:34; 2 Jacques Du Plessis 56:37; 3 Eduan Burger 1:04:04; 4 Zainul-Abideen Sahib 1:07:56; 5 Daniel Jubert 1:16:35

Veterans: 1 Jubert; 2 Craig Kenmuir 1:17:25; 3 Marion Parring 1:21:43

Masters: 1 Barry Matthew 1:42:12; 2 Richard Quinlan 1:55:26; 3 Wayne Peterson 1:57:09

Grandmasters: 1 Allan Johns 1:46:10; 2 Afzal Dhansay 1:53:20; 3 Felix Gnadinger 1:54:13

Women: 1 Mariska Uys 1:22:04; 2 Joanne Burns 1:28:18; 3 Shura Johnsen 1:34:18; 4 Sarah Paterson 1:35:31; 5 Edna Maldonado 1:37:21

Veterans: 1 Gail Hunter 1:37:51; 2 Shelley Brouns 1:41:20; 3 Peta Wills 1:44:11

Masters: 1 Burns; 2 Maldonado; 3 Teresa Cross 1:55:26

Grandmasters: 1 Toni Upham 2:02:29; 2 Jacqueline Goosen 2:15:58; 3 Shirley Whitmore 2:16:47