The Big 5 Challenge was an amazing and challenging week of sports on the beautiful Garden Route. Running, cycling, swimming and paddling in, on, and around the Knysna Lagoon and Knysna Forest is an absolute treat not to be missed.
It was great to rest the legs and paddle on the Sunday rather than do the road cycle, but in terms of intensity I could probably have had a more comfortable cycle than I did paddle. By all reports the cycle tour was a nerve-wracking event with some “less experienced” cyclists mixing it up in the lead bunches.
Magnetic South did a great job of organising and coordinating the Challenge, and being available all week to help and encourage participants.
It would be great if all the different events followed the example of the Knysna MTB Tour and the Salomon Featherbed Trail Run and provided numbers or bibs that distinguished Big 5 Challengers from the rest of the field. It was great to be able to identify your fellow Big 5ers and give them encouragement during the events.
I have blogged about the individual events, but in summary:
- Rotary Knysna MTB Tour: a monstrously tough day for me and proof that I need to spend way more time on my bike
- Knysna Lagoon Challenge: a beautiful paddle that allowed me to rest my legs for the day
- Salomon Featherbed Coelacanth Trail Run: rave, rave, rave! Stunning trail run that has reignited my passion for trail
- XTERRA Pezula: mud, mud, mud. The MTB was not my idea of fun at all
- Knysna Forest Marathon: unofficially a marathon PB an my first ultra
157 males and 52 females completed the Big 5 Challenge. I was the 73rd male.
Final results: www.magneticsouth.net
Be sure to read the race reports from some of the top athletes:
- Carla van Huysteen: http://carlagermishuys.blogspot.com/2013/07/knysna-oyster-festival-big-5-challenge.html
- Stuart Marais: http://www.stuartmarais.com/754-big-5
- Dan Hugo: http://www.dghugo.com/knynsa-oyster-festival-big5-challenge/2013/07/12/