Adventure Sport

Stuart and Alae top finishers

2012-07-13 12:02
Stuart Marais (Supplied)
Knysna - One of Knysna’s most inspiring secrets - the Pezula Field of Dreams - did it again yesterday, delivering up dream finishes for Stuart Marais (01:39:55 for 1,000 points in the Big 5 Challenge) and Alae Brand (02:03:47 for 985 points) in the Totalsports XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT.

Both also took gold in the XTERRA itself.

Stuart’s finish was nothing short of brilliant. He entered the final transition in third place and a good two and a half minutes behind mountain biking king Kevin Evans, who smoked the muddy 22 km course.

But with 7 km of running ahead of them, Stuart was in his element. And he certainly looked up for it as he tackled the long Hell Hill that faced the athletes immediately after the transition.

Beautiful running, confident and apparently easy. Or at least that’s how it looked.

And then they disappeared from the view of those of us watching from the race village.

The Field of Dreams is surrounded on two sides by grassy banks, and everyone was lying stretched out on them and taking their ease in the warm winter sun.

But then suddenly the announcer said: “We’ve just heard from the last water point that Stuart Marais is now 30 seconds ahead of Kevin Evans!” And with that the photographer’s helicopter rose above the fynbos in the distance and we knew: Stu was on his way in.

After his win he said that his goal for the day had been to go out really hard on the first run – the event included a 3 km trail run, a 23 km MTB leg, and that final 7 km run.

“Basically I sprinted it, and then I came in two and a half minutes ahead of Kevin.

“Then I just tried to hold a steady rhythm on the bike course, but he came past me like I was standing still.

“But I knew I could make up anything between four and six minutes on the last run, and although I cramped a little on the uphill out of Pezula, I found a rhythm once I got to the top, and just took it home from there.”

After her win, Alae said, “I love it. The XTERRA was absolutely fabulous. The mountain bike was hard, especially on the down hills: I come from Port Elizabeth, and there are only gravel roads there, so I struggled today because I didn’t want to fall

“I already fractured a collarbone at the beginning of the year.

“But the last run was awesome, and I managed to catch up to Finnie (who was leading at the transition), and that’s what I had planned to do from the start.”

She said that this is her first Big 5 Challenge.

“Last year I did all the events, but this year I’m an official Challenger.”

And how does she feel about her prospects for an overall win?

“Well, I won’t count my chickens, but I’m starting to get excited...”

The preliminary results for Big 5 Challengers in the XTERRA:

1 Stuart Marais 01:39:55 - 1,000 points
2 Antoine Van Heerden 01:45:01 – 951 points
3 Derrin Smith 01:47:18 - 931 points

1 Alae Brand 02:03:47 - 985 points
2 Fienie Barnard 02:05:26 - 972 points
3 SanMari Woithe 02:07:33 - 956 points

Big 5 Challenge Leader board: Men

1 Stuart Marais
•    Mountain bike 907
•    Road cycle 915  
•    Featherbed  1,000
•    XTERRA 1,000
•    Total 3,822

2 Derrin Smith
•    Mountain bike 889
•    Road cycle 907  
•    Featherbed  912
•    XTERRA 931
•    Total 3,639

3 Antoine van Heerden
•    Mountain bike 890
•    Road cycle 878  
•    Featherbed  892
•    XTERRA 951
•    Total 3,611

Big 5 Challenge Leader board: Women

1 Alae Brand
•    Mountain bike 899
•    Road cycle  951
•    Featherbed ,1000
•    XTERRA 985
•    Total 3,836

2 Fienie Barnard
•    Mountain bike 928
•    Road cycle  1000
•    Featherbed 913
•    XTERRA 972
•    Total 3,814

3 SanMari Woithe
•    Mountain bike 881
•    Road cycle 928
•    Featherbed 906
•    XTERRA 956
•    Total 3,672


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