YOUNG MULTISPORT SENSATION, THEO BLIGNAUT TAKES ON THE BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE
The BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE has confirmed yet another elite athlete, Theo Blignaut, will take part in the 6th annual event.
No stranger to blood, sweat and tears, Blignaut describes himself through his favorite quotes, when saying “pain is temporary” and “chicks dig scars”. This young multisport sensation says he eats, sleeps and breathes triathlon every day, and that this sport makes his heart skip a beat.
The self-appointed “Triathlon Passion,” Blignaut is the perfect spokesperson for the triathlon world, and with his life rooted in the sport, he’s in the perfect position to ‘show and tell’ about the efforts that go into becoming a competitive athlete. His athletic beginnings were hatched while he was just an active kid running around on the farm, playing with his pet goat, swimming in the dam, and chasing sheep outdoors. “I always had a really good feel for water and although I loved the outdoors too much to spend much time training in the pool, I would sometimes show up at school galas and whip all the swimmers that had been training so much harder than me,” he laughs mischievously. “As I got older I took up rugby and cricket like any South African by would do. One afternoon when I was about 16 years old I was chilling with my friend at our hostel when my mom phoned me to say the North West Triathlon Champs were happening that weekend. She asked me if I’d like to do it and I said ‘yeah I’m in’. It was my first ever race and I finished in 2nd place. From then on, I was hooked.”
Having fallen in love with Knysna’s beautiful setting on a previous visit, Blignaut is excited to be part of the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE in 2015. “The festival has an amazing vibe and I really suffer from FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out! I’m looking forward to being part of a great event, and to having a beer after the racing while I trade war stories with the other competitors.”
Blignaut says he is looking forward to competing every day for 5 days at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. “In preparation, I’ll be sure to have fun while I train hard and smart, in the rain and in the mud, and practice getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I love putting myself in the hurt box ‘happy place.’ Plus, it’s going to be a really good training week for me as I am preparing for ITU Cross triathlon World champs in September this year.”
CARLA VAN HUYSSTEEN BACK TO DEFEND HER TITLE AT THE 6TH ANNUAL BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE
A petite powerhouse and the 2013 and 2014 reigning champion of BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE, Carla van Huyssteen has confirmed her participation in the 6th annual event set to take place as part of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival from 4-12 July, 2015.
An elite athlete, Van Huyssteen has an collected an impressive collection of achievements in the South African multisport arena. In addition to winning the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE in both 2014 and 2013, she took a podium position at the 2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, won the ITU Age Group World Championships (20-24) 2008 in Vancouver, took first place at the Red Bull Lion Heart Challenge and SabiXtrail in 2012, and won the 2013 Xterra Grabouw SA Champs.
Van Huyssteen says her success is due in large part to her training across several sports which include road running, trail running, triathlons, mountain biking, road biking, swimming and adventure racing. “I guess you could say I’m a jack of all trades. I strive to achieve consistency over all of the disciplines. It’s important to have a routine that suits your time and your lifestyle, one you can see yourself doing week-in and week-out, month-in and month-out! I also try enjoy at least 60% of it,” she laughs.
With its spectacular natural scenery and highly technical race routes, Van Huyssteen says the decision to compete in the in the BIG5 again was a no-brainer. “Knysna is a highlight on the calendar for me. It is a great week of activity, racing, festivities. The individual races are exceptional, with great technical routes and organization! After the races I always look forward to seeing the participants and sharing our war stories over a hot coffee.”
Van Huyssteen says in addition to her multi-disciplinary training routine, her preparation for the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE will also include downhill running, technical skill sessions running and riding. “Anyone competing for the first time should know that all the routes are very technical and with grueling back-to-back racing, the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE is seriously tough. All of the run races have loads of descending, and on sore quads it can be quite painful! I’ll also pack a wetsuit and, if I can find one, a wetsuit cap for the icy-cold lagoon swim!”