The Merrell Adventure Addicts have converged for a training camp coinciding with the famous Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. Over the last few years, the consolidation of an individual’s results from five of the festival’s sporting events has seen the rise in popularity and prestige of the Knysna Big 5. “This is an adventure race with a multisport twist. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, but for the BRAVE-hearted!” states the Big 5 Sports Challenge Website. “5 Days, 5 Events, 1 Winner.”
Over the past decade, the Merrell Adventure Addicts team has been synonymous with Adventure Racing in South Africa, having competed successfully both locally and internationally. After their recent win at the African leg of the Adventure Racing World Series, the team now sees their world ranking rising back to just inside the Top 10. “After an unsuccessful 2014 our ranking dropped down to 16th.” laments Captain Graham Bird. “With our team racing three AR World Series races this year, we hope to better our previous high of 6th on the World Ranking.”
Unable to obtain late-entries, the Merrell Adventure Addicts have decided to tackle the Big 5 Sports Challenge in true Adventure Racing style: Nonstop, all in one day.
At 5am on Tuesday morning, Graham Bird, Hanno Smit, Grant Ross and Robyn Kime will start with the 80km Momentum Knysna MTB route, followed by the Dragons Lagoon Mile Swim, climbing out of the cold water in time for the 11h30 start of the Salomon Featherbed Trail Run. It will then be a quick car transfer up to Pezula Field of Dreams where the team will test out the Totalsports Xterra duathlon course (3km trail run, 23 km MTB, 7km trail run). Finally, they will set off on the iconic Knysna Half Marathon route. “It will be a big day out.” said Grant Ross. “We are estimating being out there for around fourteen and a half hours including change overs and transfer times.”
“We are heading to Australia at the end of July to compete in the 700km XPD and then the 800km AR World Championships in Pantanal, Brazil in November.” Said Robyn Kime. “The Big 5 will be excellent training as we build towards these two events.”
With the continuing support and shared vision of Merrell, the Addicts will continue to be driven by the “OUT. PERFORM.” philosophy of Merrell. Other team sponsors include PVM Nutritional Science, Black Diamond head torches, Extreme Lights, Giant Bicycles, Squirt Bicycle Lube and Island Tribe Sunscreen as well as Llama bars and Buttanutt Spreads.