ENNTRIES are now officially open for the 2016 Pretoria Leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge, the biggest and most popular race in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Grand Prix series, which attracts a whopping 25 000 avid runners each year. Entry costs R100 per person and entry forms are available at SPAR stores across Pretoria or online. All participants will receive a t-shirt, a race number, a foam peak cap and a copy of My Race magazine when they enter.
The sight of 25 000 runners making their way along Centurion’s streets each year is often referred to as “a sea of colour”. This year, some Pretoria residents might be under the impression that spring has arrived early as bright green was revealed at the launch to be the 2016 t-shirt colour!
The 2016 Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge takes place at 14:00 on Saturday, 3rd September at SuperSport Park in Centurion. As always, the race will offer 25 000 women from all walks of life, and all levels of fitness the opportunity to take part in a 5km or a 10km race. Separate starting points for each route will ensure a seamless experience for everyone.
The top runners will of course be competing for the winning spot in the SPAR Grand Prix Series which is made up of the five SPAR Women’s Challenge 10km races hosted across the country and challenges South Africa’s top female athletes to earn points based on their performances in each race. “This title is perhaps the most coveted of all as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Grand Prix Series,” says Jerome Jacobs, SPAR North Rand’s Marketing Director. “This milestone has added to the overall excitement of this year’s race and we look forward to crowning the victor, especially because this year, SPAR will be giving the 10km winner an extra R10 000 bonus cash prize as a nod to the anniversary celebration. The athletes competing for this title have set the bar so high in terms of performance that the winning spot is anyone’s game at this stage.”
Speaking at launch, Jacobs mentioned how the reflection of ten years of the Grand Prix series has turned everyone’s attention to the longevity and ever growing popularity of the Pretoria leg as a major part of Pretoria’s annual events calendar. “It is so inspiring to witness how the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s challenge has gone from strength to strength each year. It shines a light on SPAR’s commitment to our community and it has allowed us to build relationships with sponsors and race partners who have become a vital helping hand in supporting all of our community and social upliftment initiatives. These include our relationships with SuperSport Park, Athletics Gauteng North and the City of Tshwane who have helped make the race a physical reality every year,” says Jacobs.
At the official launch, this year’s race theme was unveiled and just as it has in earlier years; the theme holds an important message to every lady taking part in the race. “What if you woke up today with only the things you were grateful for yesterday?” This year, SPAR is encouraging all race participants to count their blessings and to recognise how much we all have to be grateful for. Taking stock of everything you have to be grateful for can be very liberating and empowering – which is exactly what the SPAR Women’s Challenge is all about! “#IamGrateful is about being grateful for everything that we have in our lives and I for one am grateful for all of these race partners and sponsors and also just for the opportunity to be part of the SPAR Women’s Challenge event,” says Jacobs. “I would also like to say how grateful I am to the thousands of ladies who turn out to run our race each year. This is all for you at the end of the day and that’s why this year, on behalf of SPAR, I would like to extend our gratitude for this to each individual lady.”
It is great to see each of the race participants crossing the finish line on race day but for SPAR, the goal is of course not just to see everyone finish the race, but through their participation to give back to the community. “We are proud beyond words that every year we are able to turn a stadium into a space that celebrates diversity, celebrates our beautiful nation of women and celebrates being fortunate enough to put R250 000 in donations back into our community. This is how we are able to exact real change to the world around us and let me just say that it is so rare that one is able to physically see these changes and the forces behind it – until you attend the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge. On race day, these forces are unmistakable as you see the 25 000 runners moving along the course,” Jacobs explains.
The race is, as always, in aid of the official race beneficiaries – who for the 2016 race are Irene Homes, Jacaranda Good Morning Angles, Helpnet, the Chrysalis Foundation, Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer, The Zoleka Mandela Foundation, Stand with Stan and the Hanna Charity and Empowerment Foundation.
The concept of gratitude has some very powerful connotations of ‘paying it forward’ and in this spirit; SPAR North Rand announced a special mentorship program at the launch to be part of this year’s race campaign. As one of the race ambassadors, top runner and 2016 Comrades Marathon winner, Charne Bosman will be mentoring a young, up and coming, but underprivileged runner. The young runner who Charne will be taking under wing is 17-year-old Lungile Christina Ngomane, a grade 10 pupil attending Hans Kekana High School, in Hammanskraal.
As a single parent, Lungile’s mother works tirelessly to provide for Lungile and her younger sister. Unfortunately recent circumstances have resulted in Lungile having to stop running and competing in races despite the fact that she was doing very well. She competed as part of the Athletics Gauteng North team on numerous occasions including the Interprovincial 5km race in 2014 that was held in conjunction with the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge, in which her team came second. Currently, Lungile is doing everything in her power to pass Grade 10 and walks several kilometres every Saturday to attend extra school classes.
Charne will be guiding Lungile on her running performance, helping her to get sponsored running equipment and will be handing down years of valuable professional running experience.
The rest of the official brand ambassadors were also announced at the launch. Each year the race ambassadors are selected based on their efforts in using their positions and success in life to make tangible changes to the world around them. The official 2016 group of brand ambassadors includes; Helga Barkhuizen, Hanna Grobler, Penny Lebyane, Ivan Botha, Donnalee Roberts, Zoleka Mandela, Bouwer Bosch, Lindie Strydom – and representing the top runners and the mentorship program, Charne Bosman.
Jacobs commented that this year’s brand Ambassadors represent the spirit of the race and the epitome of the values it represents. “Apart from having such a great group of brand ambassadors to carry the #IamGateful message, we are also very lucky to have wonderful partners and sponsors on our side,” adds Jacobs. “This includes SuperSport Park, City of Tshwane, Jacaranda FM, Athletics Gauteng North, Mizuno, Columbia, TradeUnipoint, Aquelle, Unilever, Futurelife, Glade, Danone, The Fit Pit, Brand IQ, ATKV and Suzuki Montana. Without your ongoing support and generosity, the race would not be possible – we are truly grateful to have you all on board.”
Race entries are priced at R100 for all licensed 10km entrants, R130 for all non-licensed 10km entrants and R100 for the 5km fun run/walk entrants. Entry forms are now available at SPAR stores across Pretoria or online. Please visit www.sparladiespta.co.za for more information.
Meanwhile Sports Focus and Spar North Rand are giving away Shopping Vouchers worth R1 000 to ten lucky readers.
To stand a chance of winning, answer the simple question below:
Give us two names of this year’ Spar Women Challenge’s Brand Ambassadors?
Send your answer and name to firstname.lastname@example.org
The competition closes on Monday, June 13 at mid-day and winners will be notified via email on Tuesday, June 14.