Do Early Starters In The OMTOM Half Marathon Get Extra Time?
The OMTOM team receive many queries with regards to the various seeded starts in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon vs the universal cut-off at the finish line. Many runners seeded in the last start group also request additional time added to their race.
For starters, it's important to clarify that the cut-off was extended by 10 minutes already, from the original 3 hours to 3:10.
Half Marathon cut-offs around the world range from prudent (around 3 hours and less) to generous (3:30 and even more), and the OMTOM cut-off is within this range.
Successfully coordinating a race start at a mass participation event like the OMTOM is a quite an undertaking. And looking at the diverse field of the Half Marathon, it's a significant challenge to ensure that everyone - from elite runners to novices - cross the start line safely and with the least amount of congestion possible. No mean feat when you consider that we send 16 000 runners of all abilities from Main Road via Paradise Road to Edinburgh Drive.
The team introduced an earlier start for our faster runners, at 05h50, with mid-field runners starting at 06h00 and the E-seeding at 06h10. This staggered start has helped tremendously to minimise congestion at the start and to ensure that the elite runners have an open road ahead of them, while those runners starting in E could make their way to Edinburgh Drive much faster.
A - D seeded runners have speedy finish times with a proven results history, so the perceived "extra time" is something they neither need nor use.
In the end, E seeded athletes get to enjoy a faster start and an extended cut-off - something that can unfortunately not be extended further at present as we also have to ensure that the route is clear before the Ultra Marathon winners make their way to the finish.
- While it appears that A-D seeded runers have extra time in the event, historical finish times show that the vast majority of these runners do not use this. There may be a rare case where a runner has an emergency, causing them to have a slower finish time, but this is not the norm. Starting earlier gives them an opportunity to get ahead.
- Faster athletes start earlier in all mass participation events.
- Runners starting in E either provided slow "qualifying" times for seeding purposes or none at all. Runners have until the official closing date to submit their best times.