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Attending the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival 2018 and looking to stay focused on your winter training? The Momentum BIG5 Challenge is just the activity for multisport enthusiasts looking to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. With accommodation packages available and all sorts of fun things to do in-between races, the BIG5 Challenge is a good reason to head to Knysna for the “best ten days of winter”.

The event is made up of five races taking place between 29 June and 7 July, and athletes can choose between the Momentum BIG5 and Momentum BIG5Lite, which both start and finish with the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour MTB and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon’s Half Marathon. An additional three events form the full BIG5 and take place between those two events. (see table below) Ranked by their cumulative time, the athlete who completes all five events in the least amount of time will be the winner.

Last year, local triathlete Vicky van der Merwe won the women’s event, and she will be back this year to defend her title. “I love the BIG5 Challenge, this will be my third year competing. The event is fun and varied, and very well organised, and we use the week as an opportunity to run training camps with triathletes,” she said.

Triathlete and multisport enthusiast Dean Hopf, who recently placed second in his age group in the Barcelona Half Ironman, says he is very much looking forward to another BIG5 Challenge: “BIG5 has something for everyone. I raced this first as an “introduction” to off-road racing and returned a year later with 10 friends that I had convinced to join me, many of whom were new to the sport and who are now regulars. I then raced it with a bit more focus and placed third in 2016.

“This year it serves as the perfect training block for my build-up to Ironman 70.3 World Champs, right in the middle of winter when motivation is usually the lowest,” he said.

Gary Marescia, Race Director, said: “More and more athletes are expanding from their chosen disciplines into multi-sports, and this is often paired with a passion for being outdoors. The Momentum BIG5 Challenge ticks all the boxes for an adventurous week of sport, and combined with the Knysna Oyster Festival, family and friends, you can see why this is landing up on so many people’s bucket lists.”

Amy Hoppy is Managing Editor of Women’s Health Magazine, a social-media personality and fitness lover, and has entered the Momentum BIG5Lite: “I discovered my passion for running three years ago, but I love taking on new challenges and this led me to try my first trail run. Then last year I decided to take my love of nature into the realm of mountain biking. I’m now an avid mountain biker, roadie and runner. My triathlete friends are urging me to take up swimming, and I do plan to, but what I love about the BIG5 is that, with the Lite option, I get to do some mountain biking and road cycling as well as the half marathon and trail.”

Amy Hoppy says she looks forward to the challenge as well as the holiday: “Knysna has such an extraordinarily beautiful landscape: mountains, veld, indigenous forest, the ocean… it’s the perfect place for outdoor adventure sports and I can’t wait to spend a week immersed in the vibe of the Oyster Festival. That means a lot of great food, wine and oysters in between all the sweat and mud!”

Visit www.big5sportchallenge.com for further information and to enter.

Visit www.oysterfestival.co.za for Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival schedule.

The breakdown of races for Momentum BIG5 and BIG5 Lite:

Momentum BIG5

DATE EVENT DISCIPLINE DISTANCE
30 June Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour MTB 80 km
2 July Momentum Knysna Lagoon Mile Swim Open Water Swimming 1.85 km
3 July Momentum Featherbed Trail Run Trail Running 15 km
5 July Momentum Health MTB-X MTB Cyclo-Cross 32 km
7 July Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon Running 21.1 km

Momentum BIG5Lite

DATE EVENT DISCIPLINE DISTANCE
30 June Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour MTB 50 km
1 July Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour Road Cycle 50 km
1 July Or Harbour2Heads Lagoon Challenge Paddling 11 km
2 July Or Momentum Knysna Lagoon Mile Swim Open Water Swimming 1.85 km
3 July Momentum Featherbed Trail Run Trail Running 11 km
5 July Momentum Health MTB-X MTB Cyclo-Cross 24 km
7 July Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon Running 21.1 km
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