Following Sunday’s Knysna Dragons Lagoon Mile Swim (1,65 km), Stuart Marais and Theo Blignaut are neck and neck in the BIG5 Sport Challenge with 167 points each. Dean Hopf is lying third with 162 points.
Not surprisingly, Theo, the young ex-sprint triathlete uber swimmer, who is seen as the likely threat to defending champion Stuart, had a great swim today, winning the event comfortably in a time of 22 minutes and 10 seconds. Marais was second BIG5 competitor home, and Dylan Pivotal was third.
Says Theo: “I know I’m a better swimmer than Stu and I was lucky to have my training partner from Maties, Stephano Roodt to swim with. Normally he would whip me in the pool but in open water I have some skill. We tried to get away from each other the whole way but we couldn’t and then out the water I’m a triathlete so I can run better than a fish!
“For the rest of the week it’s more running and biking and I’ll give it my all but Stu is the better runner/biker. It’s a long week and anything can happen but I’ll race hard all the way to the end.”
In the ladies swim, BiG5 contender Carla van Huysteen was first out of the water with a
PB time of 24 minutes and 42 seconds to beat other BIG5 contenders Andrea Steyn (2nd overall) and Lauren Cannon, and extend her overall lead.
“It was freezing, but at 17 C it was at least a better temperature than last year,” says Carla. “When it’s so cold you get a bit confused in the water and it’s quite technical going through the Waterfront, but really spectacular and a great vibe. I’m very happy with my time. I managed to improve a little bit and in swimming every second counts. I’m also happy that the weather played along today.”
The BIG5 athletes have a rest day tomorrow ahead of Tuesday’s 14 km trail run.
“I’m taking every opportunity to rest this week. I know how hard it gets towards the end of the week so every opportunity I get I’ll put my legs up,” says Carla.
The BIG5 multi-sport challenge is a highlight on the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme, which kicked off yesterday and ends 12 July. The multi-discipline event includes the 80 km Momentum Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race, the Knysna Dragons Lagoon Mile Swim, the 14 km The Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU, the full version of the Totalsports XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT, and the 21 km Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon Half Marathon.