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FRIDAY 8 JULY 2016

MARAIS, STEYN CHARGE TO VICTORY AT INAUGURAL DUALX KNYSNA

 

Stuart Marais and Andrea Steyn both charged to hard-fought wins in the men and women’s events respectively at the inaugural Momentum Oatwell DualX, powered by PeptoPro off-road duathlon at Knysna on Thursday.

The event, which is part of the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, followed a 5km run, 30km mountain bike and 2.5km run format on a route that made the most of Knysna’s urban spaces and coastal forest and gradients.

Marais the current South African XTerra triathlon champion, used his strong run to secure the win, dropping race-long companion, Brad Weiss on the final 2.5km run leg to clock a winning time of 01 hour 33 minutes 29 seconds. Weiss finished second 40 seconds later with Andrew Houston rounding out the top three positions in 1:38:04.

The win gave Marais an extension on his lead in the Knynsa Oyster Festival Big5 Sport Challenge, a series of five endurance sports events  at the festival and put him in with a shot at winning the overall Big Five title for a fifth consecutive year.

Stuart Marais and Bradley Weiss pushing each other through the scenic heart of Knysna

Photo Credit: Daniel Coetzee for ZC Marketing Consulting

“Brad and I worked together on the first run and on the bike I entered every singletrack section ahead of Brad. I made sure he stayed behind me otherwise I wouldn’t have seen him for the rest of day. It was lekker to be racing against Brad. We are good friends and we really had a lot of fun out there,” said a satisfied Marais.

“Duathlons are Stu’s thing. He’s a pedigreed runner. I had a bit of an edge on the singletrack on the bike but he was just too strong the rest of the time. It was good mixing it up front with him though,” said runner-up Weiss.

In the women’s race Steyn, fresh off her recent silver medal performance at the 2016 Duathlon World Championships, finished the first run in the lead along with triathlete, Vicky van der Merwe. Van der Merwe soon fell back on the mountain bike leg, and Steyn was also challenged by the technical nature of the route, which allowed Fienie Barnard, an accomplished mountain biker, to catch her after 20km.

Steyn was able to dig deep and stay close to Barnard for the final 10km of the mountain bike leg before moving clear on the final 2.5km trail run to take the lead and secure the victory in a time of 1:53:56. Barnard held on for a strong second place in 1:54:48 with Van der Merwe taking third place in 1:57:13.

“I really struggled from the beginning. My legs didn’t feel great after the Featherbed Trail Run. The mountain bike leg was beautiful, but it was so tough, especially the technical downhills. Fienie was just phenomenal. She’s a real mountain biker. She caught me with about 10 kays to go. I managed to stay on her wheel. Then I had a better second run,” said a delighted Steyn.

Andrea Steyn enjoying the tough but beautiful mountain bike section

Photo Credit: Daniel Coetzee for ZC Marketing Consulting

“Shew. I thought it would be easier than that. I stayed with Andrea on the first run and for some of the mountain bike leg. But I struggled on the technical downhills and lost a lot of time there. Fienie came flying past me. She’s a very good rider! But I still had lot of fun. I think I might do more off-road duathlons,” said Van der Merwe, who normally competes in triathlons.

“It was awesome. We went from an urban environment straight into the forest. The uphills were tough, but forest singletrack was spectacular. The route was amazing. The views were spectacular. Some participants stopped to take photographs even. I’m a local and I loved it,” said Greg Vogt, of Knysna Tourism, who completed the event.

“The Momentum Health Oatwell Dual X was a great event, we were really privileged to have it here and I am sure next year there will be a lot more people racing it. It’s great that Momentum has brought this new event into the heart of the town of Knysna. And I think today the participants would have seen why we’re called ‘Trail Town, South Africa’!” added Vogt.

The Knysna event was Round 4 of the 2016 Momentum Oatwell DualX, powered by PeptoPro off-road duathlon series. The final round will be held at Buffelsdrift, near Pretoria on 15 August.

For full results, visit www.saseeding.co.za. For more series information, visit www.dualx.co.za.

ENDS.

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