First Knys­na Ex­tre­me har­dest e­ver

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Sport - Staff re­por­ter

The first Knys­na Ex­tre­me T­ri­athlon took pla­ce on Sa­tur­day 24 No­vem­ber, tou­ted as one of the toug­hest tri­athlons in South A­fri­ca, and ac­cor­ding to or­ga­ni­sers it did not di­sap­point.

Par­ti­ci­pants star­ted their in­cre­di­ble jour­ney at 05:00 on Sa­tur­day from T­he­sen Is­land. They had to batt­le a 4km swim in the es­tu­a­ry a­gainst an out­going high ti­de, then cy­cle 170km a­gainst a he­ad­wind on a hil­ly rou­te which took them from Knys­na, to Ge­or­ge, o­ver the Ou­te­ni­qua pass and back to A­von­tuur. T­his was fol­lo­wed by a gru­el­ling 50km run al­ong P­rin­ce Alf­red’s Pass that en­ded at the Diep­wal­le fo­rest s­ta­ti­on.

The rou­te tes­ted both fit­ness le­vels and pu­re men­tal strength and de­ter­mi­na­ti­on.

Out of the 25 en­trants who star­ted, 20 athle­tes ma­na­ged to cross the fi­nish li­ne be­fo­re the mid­nig­ht cu­toff ti­me. The first man a­cross the li­ne was Man­fred Wie­hahn af­ter 12 hours and 58 mi­nu­tes, and the first wo­man fi­nis­her was Na­ta­sha Gor­rie, with a ti­me of 13 hours and 35 mi­nu­tes.

Two te­ams al­so com­ple­ted the t­ri­athlon. The win­ning te­am from Knys­na, con­sis­ting of Pe­ter C­he­ad­le (swim), Mar­cel Roos (cy­cle), and Me­lik­ha­ya M­si­zi (run) com­ple­ted the rou­te in 12 hrs 15 mins.

‘Har­dest t­ri­athlon e­ver’

Ac­cor­ding to Gor­rie, the Knys­na Ex­tre­me was the har­dest t­ri­athlon she has e­ver do­ne. “W­hat an a­ma­zing ra­ce! Thank you to all my sup­por­ters who we­re he­re with me and e­ver­yo­ne back in Jo­han­nes­burg. Your be­lief and en­coura­ge­ment we­re o­ver­w­hel­ming. To the a­ma­zing athle­tes who did t­his gru­el­ling ra­ce with me, I ho­nour and ap­plaud you… Well do­ne! Being the first la­dy, I am ex­tre­me­ly hap­py,” she said.

A­not­her com­pe­ti­tor, Andrew Pet­ter­sen, said it was the gre­a­test ex­pe­rien­ce in ul­tra­tri­athlon he has e­ver ex­pe­rien­ced. “Se­an, the or­ga­ni­ser, set up the i­de­al no-frills, back-to­ba­si­cs, li­mit-pus­hing e­vent. He should be so proud. We we­re all li­ke one hap­py fa­mi­ly. Highly e­mo­ti­o­nal and e­ver­yo­ne from crew, sup­port to par­ti­ci­pants we­re just gen­ui­ne grit­ty cha­rac­ters. Ne­ver ex­pe­rien­ced such a won­der­ful­ly spi­ri­ted e­vent,” Pet­ter­sen said.

Alt­hough he fell out of the ro­ad ra­ce at the 42km check­point, Pet­ter­sen said ta­king part in the Knys­na Ex­tre­me was pro­ba­bly the prou­dest a­chie­vement in the “ul­tra-li­fe­sty­le” he has a­dop­ted.

Ac­cor­ding to the or­ga­ni­sers e­ver­yo­ne who took part in the Knys­na Ex­tre­me is a win­ner. “If they fi­nis­hed the e­vent, or e­ven if they didn’t, e­ach athle­te can be in­cre­di­bly hap­py with them­sel­ves for the fact that they ga­ve it their all, all the way until the end,” a spo­kes­per­son said.

The next Knys­na Ex­tre­me will be held o­ver the sa­me wee­kend next ye­ar, from 23 to 24 No­vem­ber.

All of the athle­tes who com­ple­ted the e­vent sig­ned the Fi­nis­hers bo­ard, so he­ad do­wn to Ta­pas and see who com­ple­ted t­his Ex­tre­me T­ri­athlon.

P­ho­to: Jan-Hen­driks S­tan­der The first man a­cross the li­ne was Man­fred Wie­hahn af­ter 12 hours and 58 mi­nu­tes.

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