BIG5 Challenge attracts some Big Name Elite Runners


The 8th Annual BIG5 Challenge is fast approaching and the competition for podium spots is heating up with the likes of Bradley Weiss, Davide Del Fante, Dean Hopf and Theo Blignaut fighting it out over five events during the ten days of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival between 7 and 16 July.

The ladies’ competition also promises to be tight with Vicky van der Merwe and Fienie Barnard taking on the field of South Africa’s strongest and most adventurous multi-sport athletes.

“This is going to be an exceptionally exciting year,” says BIG5 Challenge Race Director Gary Marescia, “both defending champions Andrea Steyn and Stuart Murray are unable to participate. It throws the competition wide open!”

Known as ‘The Ultimate Multisport Challenge’ the BIG5 includes entries to some of South Africa’s most popular outdoor events including the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race and the Momentum Knysna Forest Half Marathon. The challenge also includes the Featherbed Trail Run, the MTB-X – a combination obstacle course and mountain bike route – and the Knysna Lagoon Mile Swim.

“I am not sure if I enjoy the amazing vibe or the racing more, but this has become my favourite event every winter!’” says Dean Hopf.

If an open water swim isn’t your idea of fun, consider the BIG5Lite where the swim is optional and can be replaced by either the Harbour2Heads 11km paddle or the Momentum Cycle Tour Road race.

“For years the Big5 has been the pinnacle of multi-sport events during the cold South African winter – dragging athletes from the comfort of their warm homes and forcing them to train in unfavourable conditions for a week of pain and suffering labelled as a 'holiday'!” laughs Bradley Weiss “But let’s be honest, the FOMO of sitting it out and taking shelter next to the fireplace is so much worse! Fighting through adversity makes the reward of completing this action-packed race so much sweeter and gives each and every competitor a real sense of accomplishment. I for one cannot wait to go up against the elements and come out victorious!”

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