Marais takes the lead in the BIG5

Stuart Marais, taking the lead again at the Big5 Sports Challenge - Photo Supplied

Stuart Marais, taking the lead again at the Big5 Sports Challenge – Photo Supplied

Knysna, 8 July 2015 ~ Stuart Marais has taken the lead in the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival’s BIG5 Sport Challenge, following a blistering performance in yesterday’s 14 km The Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU. This was the third event in the challenge and Stuart now has a two point lead over Theo Blignaut who finished 5th overall, a full 3 minutes, 35 seconds behind Stuart’s time of 55 minutes, 17 seconds. Dean Hopf is still in third position after his 1 hour, 5 minute, 1 second trail run.

Stuart who finished very strong, said that he felt really good all the way. “I always go hard at the start of this trail run to get to the top of the climb and in the lead. Once you get to the top it’s basically a downhill run all the way home.”

The BIG5 contenders have just two events to go – the full version of the Totalsports XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT on Thursday, and the 21 km Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon Half Marathon on Saturday.

“Xterra at Pezula is very, very hard,” said Stuart, “and obviously my legs feel a bit tired after the week, but I’m looking forward to giving Theo and Brad (Weiss) a good go on Thursday.”

Andrea Steyn, the ladies winnner - Photo Supplied

Andrea Steyn, the ladies winnner – Photo Supplied

In the Ladies group, Andrea Steyn beat Carla van Huyysteen in yesterday’s trail run by just 43 seconds in a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 40 seconds, effectively narrowing Carla’s overall lead to one point. Andrea was first lady home and 12th overall.

“It was one of my first ever trail runs so I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Andrea. “I knew it would be tough, especially the first 7 km so I tried to go really hard and just kept going. I thought I wasn’t going to make it but I did.

“I love running and I’m back in the game and feeling good, but it’s going to be a hard battle to beat Carla. She’s a really good mountain biker so I have to use my running ability to gain time. I knew from the beginning it would be tough beating her on the bike and in the swim and I that I would have to beat her in the trail run and in the next two events if I want to take the title.”

The BIG5 athletes have a rest day tomorrow ahead of Thursday’s gruelling Xterra, which starts at 12:30 and consists of a 3 km trail run, followed by a 23 km mountain bike ride and a 7 km trail run.

The BIG5 multi-sport challenge is a highlight on the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme, which kicked off on Friday 3 July and ends 12 July. The multi-discipline event includes the already completed 80 km Momentum Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race, Knysna Dragons Lagoon Mile Swim, and 14 km The Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU. The final event after the Xterra is the 21 km Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon Half Marathon on Saturday.

For more information on the BIG5 Sport Challenge: