The third event of the BIG5 Sport Challenge, The Featherbed Trail Run, took place today at the 33rd annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival with the favourites Stuart Marais and Andrea Steyn comfortably winning the men’s and ladies races.
Defending Big 5 Champion and the undisputed King of Knysna, Stuart Marais, continued to make good on his plan to clock a fourth consecutive BIG5 title, after winning The Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race and coming in third for the Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim and remains the one to watch for the final two challenges.
Stuart Marais emerged victorious in 0:54.48 which was the fastest time of the day, and the 2nd fastest time in race history for the 15 km route. This was a remarkable eight minutes ahead of 2nd placed Theo Blignaut leaving him streaks ahead on the overall log.
Stuart was elated after his win, “Once again Featherbed lives up to expectations, its an incredible event. We were really blessed with a beautiful evening, the weather was cool with no wind, perfect running conditions.
I went out hard to try create a gap and then maintain a solid effort until the top of the climb which then allows you to relax until you hit the railway line. I knew that running under 4 minutes a kilometre would win and that is what I did. I stuck to my plan and took in the beatiful scenery and enjoyed my run.”
World Duathlon championship runner-up and current BIG5 champion in the ladies division, Andrea Steyn, maintained her overall lead after winning the first BIG5 challenge, the Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race after a very tight finish. With just over a minute separating the first three ladies in the Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim, Steyn came in third, maintaining her overall lead, making her the current favourite to take a second consecutive BIG5 win.
Andrea commented briefly on her run, “ I was really looking forward to it and it was a beautiful run, and the weather was great! Last year I went out too quickly and struggled and ended up being really stiff the following day, so this year I started off more conservatively and it paid off.”
Andrea finished in a time of of 1:04.58 ahead of 2nd placed Vicky van der Merwe, which leaves her comfortably in the lead on the overall Big 5 Sport Challenge log.
The BIG5 multi-sport challenge is a highlight on the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme and includes The Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race (80km), Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim (1.6km), The Featherbed Trail Run (15km), The Momentum Health OatWell DualX, powered by PeptoPro (5km Run | 30km MTB | 2.5km Run), and The Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon (21.1km).
The Momentum Health Oatwell DualX powered by PeptroPro is the second last challenge and will take place on Thursday 7 July.
It’s not too late to support charity by sponsoring a Big 5 Sport Challenge athlete, all you need to do is go to http://www.big5fundracing.co.za and pledge your amount.
BIG 5 CHALLENGE FEATHERBED TRAIL RUN RESULTS
1. Stuart Marais
2. Theo Blignaut
3. Dylan Pivo
1. Andrea Steyn
2. Vicky van der Merwe
3. Fienie Barnard