So as mentioned in my post Is a Knysna Big 5 Challenge Lite on the cards for 2014?, 2014 sees the introduction of a Knysna Big 5 Challenge Lite.
Whilst the changes are not quite what I expected or hoped for, they are definitely positive, and represent the popularity and growth of this great sporting challenge. Here are the options for the Big 5 Challenge and the Big 5 Lite:
Big 5 Challenge
Big 5 Lite
|1 Saturday, 05 July||Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour – 80km MTB race
(Male 02:57:00; Female 03:24:03)
|Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour – 50km MTB race|
|2 Sunday, 06 July|
|3 Tuesday, 08 July||Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU – Coelacanth – 14km
(Male 00:54:35; Female 01:05:29)
|Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU – Seahorse – 11km
|4 Thursday, 10 July||Totalsports XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT – Full distance
(Male 01:38:07; Female 02:03:51)
|Totalsports XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT – Lite|
|5 Saturday, 12 July||Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Half Marathon
(Male 01:03:11; Female 01:14:19)
I still believe the options still favor the cyclists: you can pedal on the Saturday and Sunday, pedal on the Thursday — it is still my opinion that the XTERRA course favors MTBers heavily, everyone runs Tuesday, and then cruise through a little half marathon on the Saturday. I had hoped that to even things out a little they would have either offered the 50km MTB as an option (in line with the half marathon being an option alongside the full marathon), or man-up totally and make the full marathon compulsory and remove the half option.
Additionally, a 100km road cycle does not equal a 20km paddle and certainly not a 1 mile swim.
Obviously the Lite makes the Challenge accessible to many more athletes and this is very good.
For many keen multi-sporters one of the most important developments is the inclusion of another water event, and we hope that by next year a water leg will be compulsory. Only then will the Big 5 Challenge be able to claim to be the multi-sport event of the year.