What is the BIG5 Challenge?

The BIG5 CHALLENGE has become a bucket list item on the international endurance and adventure race calendar. In this multisport stage-race event, athletes compete in five pre-determined events. A point system is used to determine the winners for the BIG5 LITE and BIG5 JUNIOR events and the BIG5 will be scored off accumulative time as per 2016.

Can I do the BIG5 Challenge?

If you are a regular competitor of similar events (stage and/or multisport), and you normally finish within the top 60% of finishers, then your fitness level should be sufficient to tackle the BIG5 Challenge. We suggest you look at each individual event on the schedule and ask yourself if they are all achievable in isolation, then consider your recovery period for each event and match this with the requirement to perform the next day at a competitive level in order to assess your compatibility within the BIG5 Challenge.

On entering a multi-sport / multi-day event an athlete must be aware of the risk level needed to perform daily within 24 hours (sometimes less than this). Athletes must know their thresh-holds and when competing outside of their comfort zone the importance of dealing with hydration and muscle fatigue.


What are the BIG5 Challenge Events?

The BIG5 consists of 5 predetermine events:

If you prefer and easier challenge or it is your first year, you can join the BIG5 Lite:


Must I race as an individual or can I enter in a team?

The BIG5 Challenge is an event for individual athletes only.

When do entries close?

Entries close at midnight 20th June 2017 or when the race capacity has been reached. Once entries close you may request to be placed on a waiting list and should there be cancellations, you will be allocated an entry. Late entry fees will apply. Late entries from the 12th June till 20th June Additional fees apply.

Can my entry for this year’s event be deferred to next year’s event?

Deferrals to the 2018 event will not be permitted. However, participants may be allowed to transfer their entry to another athlete. Refer to transfers. Additional 50% of fee after 12th june through to 20th June.

Is it possible for me to cancel my race entry? And what is the policy on refunds?

Athletes that are unable to participate, regardless of their reasons, can request cancellation of their entry and refund of their entry fee under the following terms:

  • Until midnight 12 June 2017 – 50% refund on total event cost
  • From 13 – 20 June 2017 – 25% refund on total event cost
  • After 20 June no refunds will be applicable

Please submit your cancellation and refund request to big5@oysterfestival.co.za

Is it possible to transfer my entry to someone else?

Entries can be transferred to another person as long as the substitution request is submitted before midnight 20 June 2016. Thereafter no transfers are allowed.

The following fees are applicable for substitutions:

  • Substitutions up until 12 June 2016 – an additional cost of 15% of the total cost is applicable
  • Substitutions after 12 June – an additional cost of 50% of the total event cost is applicable

To transfer your entry to someone else please submit your request to big5@oysterfestival.co.za

Do I need to purchase a day licence?

Yes, a day license will be applicable to Momentum Weekend Argus Cycle Tour, The MTB X and the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon. Please check with the individual events for the federation license requirement prior to entering.


I have not received my confirmation email after registering?

Please contact Race Office via email big5@oysterfestival.co.za, and they will send you a confirmation email.

What are the age restrictions for entering the Big5 and Big5 Lite?

The BIG5 & BIG5 LITE are events for the individual athlete, 20 years of age and over as at 31 December 2017. For the under 20’s there is a separate challenge available in the form of the BIG5 Junior, which caters for the below age categories:

  • 12-15 years
  • 16-19 years

Where do we register?

Registration will take place at the BIG5 Hospitality Zone at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds on Friday 8th June between 1pm and 8pm.

Is there a  race briefing and is it compulsory?

Yes there will be a BIG5 Challenge Race Briefing and it is compulsory for all BIG5 Challenge Athletes to attend. The Race Briefing will take place at 6pm on the Friday at Registration.

Can I upgrade or downgrade between the BIG5 and BIG5 Lite?

No upgrades or downgrades between the BIG5 and BIG5 Lite will be possible.

Must we sign an Indemnity/disclaimer?

Yes, ALL BIG5 Challenge athletes will be required to sign an indemnity at Registration.

What must be brought with to registration?

Your BIG5 Challenge race number confirmation together with positive identification such as an ID Book or a driver’s license must be produced at registration. No third party collection.


Must I attend each events Race Briefings?

All participants must attend the BIG5 Challenge Race briefing. It is also a requirement of the individual events that all athletes attend these briefings too.

What Race Rules apply in the BIG5 Challenge?

Each sport has their own set of rules that comply with the National federation rules, Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster festival rules as well as those of the event organiser and of BIG5. Please make yourself aware of these and adhere to them.

How does the BIG5 Challenge Scoring System work?

  • The BIG5 competition will be scored on the athlete’s accumulative finish time from each event.
  • The BIG5 Lite and BIG5 Junior competition will be scored on a points system relating to the athlete’s finishing position within each event.
  • Results will be posted after each event on the Results board within the BIG5 Hospitality Zone at the Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds.
  • Click here to see example of the scoring system for the BIG5 LITE, with the same principles applied to the BIG5 JUNIOR event


What are the BIG5 Challenge Competition Rules?

  • Finishers Medals will only be awarded to those BIG5 Challenge competitors who have successfully completed all 5 events within their challenge.
  • To be in contention for any prizes, the BIG5 Challenge Athlete would need to have successfully completed all events within their challenge to that point.
  • If a BIG5 Challenge Athlete misses an event or does not complete one of the events :
    • They will no longer qualify for the BIG5 Challenge Competition.
    • They may continue to participate in the remaining events as an individual.
    • They may continue to take advantage of their BIG5 Challenge benefits.
    • They may take podium at any event but will not be recognised as podium within the BIG5 Challenge Competition.
  • BIG 5 and BIG5 Lite winners will be awarded at the Gala Dinner on Saturday Night 15th July.
  • BIG5 Junior winners will be awarded at the BIG5 Hospitality Zone at the Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds on Saturday 15th July prior to the Gala Dinner function. Exact times will be announced closer to the time.

What Prize money is at stake in the BIG5?

BIG5 Men Women
20+ years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
Prize Money R10 000 R5 000 R3 000 R10 000 R5 000 R3 000
  • Only BIG5 entrants are eligible for the Prize Money i.e. BIG5 LITE and BIG5 JUNIOR athletes will not qualify for any prize money but will be awarded accordingly with podium medals and other.
  • Winning athletes must be present at prize giving to collect their prize.
  • Prize money will be paid via EFT.
  • Prize Money will only be paid out once the race results have been verified.
  • All participants in the BIG5 are eligible for the prize money i.e. The Athlete with the least accumulative time will be deemed the overall winner. the athlete with the second least accumulative time is second, etc. irrespective of the age group category. There will be a separate competition for Males & Females.
  • An athlete is eligible for only one prize.
  • New for 2017 – The Following Age Categories will also be awarded:


  • 20-39 (Open)
  • 40-49 (Masters)
  • 50+ (Grand Masters)

BIG5 Lite

  • 20-39
  • 40+

BIG5 Junior

  • 12-15
  • 16-18


When is Prize giving?

There will be a prize giving after every race where the BIG5 podium finishers will be recognised. The Official BIG5 Challenge Prize-Giving Gala Function will take place on Saturday 15th July (Venue tbc). The Gala Function will be free to all BIG5 and BIG5 Lite competitors. Partners are welcome at an additional cost of R175pp. Children are welcome at a cost of R150. Confirmation of attendance to be completed by Tuesday 13th July at the BIG5 Hospitality Zone.

BIG5 Junior Prize Giving will take place at the BIG5 Hospitality Zone on Saturday 15th July after the last race.

Prize breakdown

The tables below show the breakdown of podium medals that will be awarded at the respective BIG5 Sport Challenge Prize Giving Functions on Saturday 15th July. Any additional prizes are subject to change and therefore will be communicated closer to the event.

BIG5 Men Women
OPEN AGE GROUP 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
40 – 49 years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
50+ years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
BIG5 LITE Men Women
OPEN AGE GROUP 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
40+ years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
12-15 years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
16-19 years 1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd

There will be preferential start groups in the Momentum Weekend Argus Cycle Tour, the Featherbed Trail Run and the MTB X, for all BIG5 and BIG5 Lite athletes.

Is there a preferential start group for the BIG5 and BIG5 Lite entries in each event?

What are the various Start times?

BIG 5 PROGRAM of Events
13:00 – 20:00 Registration Festival Grounds
Saturday 8th July
09:00 – 13:00 Cycle Tour Mtb 15km – 9 – 11year Kids Festival Grounds
09:00 – 13:00 Cycle Tour Mtb 30km – 12 -19 Kids Festival Grounds
08:00 – 13:00 Cycle Tour Mtb 80km – B5 Festival Grounds
09:00 – 12:00 Cycle Tour Mtb 50km – BLite Festival Grounds
12:15 – 12:30 Awards Ceremony – Cycle – B5 and BLite Winners only Festival Grounds
Sunday 9th July
08:00 – 12:00 Cycle Tour Road 50km – BLite Festival Grounds
09:30 – 12:00 Obstacle Course Big 5 Kids
14:30 – 16:00 Lagoon Swim 1.6km – B5 Cruise Café
14:30 – 16:00 Lagoon Swim 1.6km – BLite Cruise Café
10:00 -12:00 Paddle – 10km – BLite Yacht Club
None Awards Ceremony – Cycle – BLite
16:30 Awards Ceremony – Swim – B5 ONLY Cruise Café
None Awards Ceremony – Paddle – BLite
Tuesday 11th July
15:30 – 18:30 Trail Run – 15km – B5 Cruise Café
15:30 – 18:30 Trail Run 11km – BLite Cruise Café
15:30 – 18:30 Trail Run – 11km – B5 Junior  16 – 19 Cruise Café
 5 km 12 – 15
18:30 – 20:00 Awards Ceremony – Trail – B5 and BLite Cruise Café
Thursday 13th July
TBC MTB X Festival Grounds
TBC MTB X Festival Grounds
TBC Awards Ceremony – MTB X – B5, Blite and Kids Festival Grounds
Friday 14th July
13:00 -16:00 Registration Marathon Festival Grounds
Saturday 15th July
08:00- 10:00 5 km Fun Run – Big5 Kids  Festival Grounds
08:00- 11:00 Marathon – 21km – B5 Festival Grounds
08:00- 11:00 Marathon – 21km – BLite Festival Grounds
17:00 – 18:00 Awards Ceremony – Marathon – B5 and BLite Festival Grounds / Pick n Pay
19:00 – 21:00 Final Awards Ceremony – B5 and BLite TBC


What is the minimum age?

80 km MTB 19 years
50 km MTB 15 years
30 km MTB 10 years
15 km MTB 9 years
100 km Road 15 years
50 km Road 12 years



What is the policy with regards to Retirements and not being able to complete an event?

See Competition Rules for details.

What are the costs of any Temporary Licence fees?

Temporary licences are applicable to

Road Cycle and MTB (if not a 2016 CSA member) R35/event/person

Road Running – Half marathon (if not a 2017 ASA member) R38/person

Are Timing Chips compulsory for all the events?

Road Cycle and MTB (Disposable electronic Timing Chip)

Road Running – Half marathon (Disposable electronic Timing Chip)

MTB X (Timing Board Chip R150.00)


Trail Run (Disposable electronic Timing Chip)

Swim – Manual Timing

Paddle – Maunal Timing

Will all events use race numbers? Where must they be displayed?



Bike numbers must be mounted on the handlebars facing forward

Half marathon

Run Numbers must be worn on the front of the body

Timing device in lace of shoe


MTB cycle

Bike numbers must be mounted on the handlebars facing forward. These bike numbers contain the timing chip .There are no numbers to be worn on the athletes body.


Road Cycle

Race Numbers must be worn on the back of the body and timing boards are to be secured to handlebars of bike.

Where will results be displayed?

On the notice board at the BIG5 Hospitality Area within the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds.


Is there any special equipment I need?

You will need to have all of your own equipment for each event. No equipment will be lent to any athlete.


For the 1 mile swim- depending on water temperature, a wetsuit

For the paddle – life jacket must be worn

All BIG5 Challenge Athletes must check the individual events for any equipment requirements and or restrictions

Some very Important Rules:

Cycling events:

Participants must complete all events under their own power

Age will be calculated as at 31 December 2017

Obey all traffic regulations and with instructions from race and/or traffic officials


Personal Audio/Music Devices: No type of sound/music device is allowed during competition. Examples: NO headsets, tape players, CD players, MP3 players or 2-way radios may be worn. If you would like to use a Go-Pro to capture your race, you will need to check with the individual events for their ruling on this.

Must club colours be worn in all events?

This is only a requirement for the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forrest Marathon only. Athletes to please check requirements with each individual event. Event and federation rules apply.

What is the BIG5 appeal procedure?

Any race disputes need to be directed to the race officials of the individual events and not to the BIG5 Organisers. The BIG5 organisers will calculate the BIG5 results based on the official results released by the individual events.

Any Furtther disputes after the official event results have been posted, can be directed to the BIG5 Race Organisers within the BIG5 Hospitality Area.

All appeals will be considered by a Jury of three competent persons appointed by the Race Director and the decision of the Jury shall be final and binding.


Is there a kid’s zone at the race village?

Yes, the Momentum Children’s zone on the top field of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds is the official kids’ zone.



Some useful definitions if you are new to the BIG5.

Start waves: Smaller groups of athletes that begin the race every few minutes. Waves are usually determined by age group and gender. Wave starts are more common in races where a large number of athletes are competing.

Start Group: A special start group arranged for the BIG 5 Competitors

Seeding: A preferred start group based on the competitors historical times

Swim Leg: The part of the race where the athlete swims. The swim route is marked out using buoys.

Sighting: Raising of the head while swimming to look for landmarks or buoys that mark the swim course.

Buoy: A floating device that marks the course of the swim leg.

Transition Area or Zone: A defined area in which an athlete stores their bicycle and other equipment required to race. This is where the change over from running to cycling and cycling to running occur.

Cycle or Bike Leg: Part of the race course where the bike is to be ridden. The bike course starts at the Mount Line* and finishes at the Dismount Line*.

Mount Line: A designated line at the exit of the Transition Area after which athletes are to mount their bicycles and ride. The Mount Line will be clearly identified by flags/line/Technical Official, or combinations thereof.

Dismount Line: Clearly marked designated line before the entrance to the Transition Area of the bike course. Athletes are required to dismount their bikes and walk/run with their bikes to the bike racks.

Drafting: A technique where two or more cyclist’s cycle in a close group to reduce the effect of drag by using the front bicycle’s slipstream.

Run Course: Part of the race course where the athlete is to run. The run course commences at the exit from the Transition Area and finishes at the Finish Line.

Splits: The time that it takes to complete a specific distance. In duathlon, splits are usually given for the first run, bike and second run legs. Splits are also given for the time taken in each of the two transitions (T1 & T2).