Knysna has experienced devastating fires in the last weeks, by which the Featherbed Trail Run has been directly affected. Please read below email to be informed on changes on your race schedule.
On June 7th the greater Knysna and Plettenberg Bay areas were hit by an unprecedented firestorm. The worst drought in 113 years conspired with the wind gale of the decade to cause what has been described as the most severe natural disaster in the history of our country. It was terrifying and shocking. Everyone here is affected. Still in the grip of the crippling drought and reeling from the loss of property and infrastructure, this disaster is far from over, but if anyone, for a minute, thought Knysna was down and out, they are very mistaken. Knysna is the scene of something absolutely remarkable.
SOUTH AFRICA STANDS UP FOR KNYSNA
Burring more intensely than the 30 meter wave of flames that preceded it, this town was hit by a torrent of firefighting, logistical and humanitarian assistance from all over our country and overseas so generous of spirit, so brave and so assiduous and so remarkable that it made global headlines. It overwhelmed us. Hardened cynics choked up. The spirit with which South Africans from all walks of life rolled up their sleeves and stood shoulder to shoulder to fight their common adversary was something no one here will ever forget.
Two weeks on and things are far from normal. Lives have been turned upside down and the challenges ahead for our town loom large. But just as the tiny green shoots are already emerging from the scorched ashes so too is that undeniable spirit of anticipation of all the possibilities that lie ahead. The regrowth has begun. What Knysna needs more than ever to do now is to do what we always do, and that is giving our visitors an unforgettable experience. Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy and we need to see our world class restaurants and pubs overflow with enthralled festival goers.
I urge you to come and experience this infectious spirit in our town for yourself. Come do our events, drink our beers and be a part of this new beginning.
The beloved routes of the Featherbed Trail Run are almost 100% affected by the fire. Safety and environmental concerns make the staging of this event on the original route impossible. At one stage we felt we had no option but to cancel this year’s event. This, it turns out, was unacceptable for Knysna folk and Trail Runners far and wide who are gripped by the inescapable can-do attitude want this event to take place more than ever. We were humbled when we grasped just how much this event means to the Festival and the town.
It became clear that we actually have no option but to somehow make it happen.
THE PHOENIX RISES
Just like the mythological bird – the phoenix – Knysna re-emerges from its own ashes – reborn, renewed, and very much alive.
With a fantastic generous spirit, Bayport Financial Services has come forward to ensure that one of the most beloved events of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival goes ahead. Moreover, Bayport’s involvement and generous support from the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival will ensure that 25% of the entry fees go to alleviate the suffering of those directly affected by the fires.
Stuart Stone, Chief Executive Officer at Bayport, says that the company was both devastated by the tragedy but at the same time inspired by the care and compassion South Africans showed their fellow citizens affected by the fire. “We have witnessed a national relief effort from all sectors of society and in that spirit we at Bayport feel compelled to support the run and ensure that Knysna and surrounding towns benefit from a successful Oyster Festival that no doubt is an important contributor to the local economy.”
We are thrilled to hereby inform you that the official Trail Run of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival will indeed take place on the Tuesday of the Festival as scheduled. What’s more, it is likely to be the most memorable event yet.
THE FEATHERBED TRAIL RUN 2017 will go into the history books as the
BAYPORT PHOENIX RUN 2017