Keeping OMTOM in the family
The 2018 edition of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon will be a special race for Karen Jenkins and her son, Andrew Laing. The pair will be tackling the Ultra Marathon together, living the OMTOM ethos of #RunAsOne.
“We make a good fit because we share very similar determination levels. Once we have started something, we both understand that we have made a commitment and we have made that to each other for this OMTOM Ultra Marathon,” says Andrew. “And that’s the same for training, it’s a lot of hours and a lot of training on the road, and I think that’s what makes it work - our commitment to running the OMTOM Ultra Marathon together.”
Karen has been hitting the road for 15 years, and finished her 10th OMTOM Half Marathon last year, earning her the coveted blue number. Now, the 58-year-old says she is ready to take a chance on the Ultra Marathon. “This will be Andrew’s second Ultra Marathon and my first. But we have been running together for a few years now. He is quite a bit faster than me and sometimes I get left behind, but he has promised to run the whole race with me this year!”
For Karen, Andrew is a great motivator. “He knows very well that I don’t give up and I will keep going until the very end. Andrew is also in charge of pacing our race. He will say things like, 'mom you are running too fast'. So I just put my watch on to run and he helps us stick to the plan,” says Karen
Admittedly, Andrew says he is something of a slave driver when the two run together, maintaining that having a good pacing strategy is essential to crossing the finish line and beating the cut off time.
To get to grips with the OMTOM challenge, the mother and son combo have been putting in the hours over the weekends.
“Most of our training takes place together, at least on weekends," says Andrew. "I’ve realised this year, it’s not about chasing PBs, it’s actually more about getting through the race and to the finish before the cutoff. We are by no means professional athletes, we run because we enjoy it and it’s a great adventure for us as mom and son.”
Karen feels the same sentiment when it comes to running with her son. Every occasion out there on the tarmac is a reason to celebrate being a team. “I think there is a great sense of achievement. Andrew is 33 and I am 58, but I can keep up with him and we can achieve something together. Every time I cross the line with him it is very emotional; it’s very special.”
Thrilled to be taking the challenge with his mom, Andrew is also excited to take part in such an incredible race, one where unique characters become friends and competitors, and memories are made to last a lifetime.
“It really is awesome. You meet people along the way and you don’t even need to know or even remember their names, but you can have very meaningful conversations with those running around you. I mean it’s a massive event - a world class premier event - if you tell somebody that you have run it they know exactly what you are talking about. And it will be very special to cross the line at OMTOM with my mom.”