Stuart Marais is dominating the men’s category at the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Big Five Sport Challenge this year, with a score of 3831 out of 5000 for the first four events. In second place is Andrew Houston with 3528 points, followed by Kent Horner with 3474 points. The final event will take place on Saturday, before the medals and R35 000 in prize money is bestowed at the Award Ceremony. “I come to Knysna every year for the Oyster festival,” says Marais, “It is a great way to get started again with my training after my mid-year break. The competition is often very tough and difficult to call on the longer days. I am happy to be in the lead and look forward to building in it throughout the week.” This is the fifth year of the Big Five Sport Challenge, taking place from the 5th to 13th July, 2014. The Big Five has fast become one of South Africa’s more renowned multi-sport challenges, testing the endurance and skills of all participating athletes. “The festival-long challenge will have you cycling and running on both the road and breath taking trails, as well as paddling or swimming on the Knysna estuary as you prove yourself worthy of the title athlete.” – Magnetic South, the organizers of The Big Five.
Marais, aged 29 and sponsored by RSAWEB, did South Africa proud in June 2014 when he took the gold in his first Ironman 70.3 in Pescara, Italy, finishing in an amazing 3:48:49. Having achieved top scores in the first four events of the Big Five, namely the 80km Mountain Bike race, the Dragons Lagoon mile Swim, the 14km Trail Run, and the Totalsports XTERRA, Marais is proving worthy of the winning the Big Five title. “Coming off a win in Europe is very good for my race confidence,” says Marais, “I have been working hard on my bike and run and so the Big Five is a nice way to showcase the work I have been putting in. This is a good build week for me as I start my preparations for 70.3 World Champs, taking place in Canada in early September.” You can stay in the loop of all Big Five results by visiting the Oyster Festival’s Big Five Challenge Results page, or by following Team RSAWEB on Facebook or Twitter.