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SPAR inspires runners through generations at race launch

BROADACRES – Great vibes, delicious food and a running spirit were the order of the day at the launch of the SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg, where the theme this year is ‘Inspiring runners through generations’.

This concept was understood widely as elite runners of all ages celebrated the return of Joburg’s most beautiful road race.

The sixth event in this year’s SPAR Grand Prix will be held at Marks Park Sports Club, Emmarentia, on 6 October,

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Buitengeluk in Broadacres provided a picturesque setting for its launch.

SPAR advertising and promotions manager, Piet van Vuuren opened by thanking guests and vowing to once again give ‘every portion of proceeds’ to the Reach for Recovery Foundation, a breast cancer support group.

After this, Central Gauteng Athletics president, James Moloi thanked SPAR for sponsoring an event that promotes women’s participation in sport.

Emcees Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp and Arnold Geerdts then welcomed to the stage the finalists for this year’s SPAR Face of the Race competition.

These were Alicia Chelsa, Busisiwe Ntobela, Sarah Ayres, Holly Gxubane and Chwaiyita Gugwini.

Last year’s winner, Thulethu Ngqokwe then described how promoting the race and the charity helped her grow as a person, before announcing that Ayres was the winner.

Ayres, a 32-year-old mother of two from Mogale City, thanked SPAR and discussed her involvement in running since she gave birth to two children.

She described it as difficult at first but necessary to improve her health.

Race patron and running legend, René Kalmer discussed her own journey running fast again after having a child.

Sonja Laxton was called to the stage to receive a gift from the organisers as she prepares to run her 100th SPAR Women’s Challenge in October.

“I never dreamt the SPAR race would become as big as it has now,” the veteran said.

Finally, SPAR Grand Prix promoter Bruce Davidson outlined the standings in the series.

Namibian runner, Helalia Johannes (Nedbank) leads after winning all five runs in record time and accumulating 150 points. Her closest challenger is Ethiopian junior Tadu Nare, who has 134 points and could still win if Johannes does not run in Joburg and Nare finishes in the top five, or if Johannes runs and Nare finishes 16 places ahead of her.

How to enter

So get out your running shoes and log on to www.sparjoburgrace.co.za to enter online. Online entries close at midnight on 24 September.

Otherwise visit your nearby SPAR, KWIKSPAR or SUPERSPAR to register in store. A full list of the stores where you can enter is available on the race website.

Late entries will be charged at R110 each and will be available at Marks Park Sports Club from 2 to 5 October between 10am and 4pm, and on 6 October between 6am and 7.30am if available.

Drop a pair

The Drop Off a Pair and Show You Care campaign is also in effect and has been since Caxton Local Media noticed many children running the race barefoot in 2015.

Community members are encouraged to donate a pair of running shoes that are in good condition at Marks Park Sports Club or at one of the two Caxton branches in Joburg north.

These are at 368 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall, and 1187 Cornelius Street, near the corner of JG Strijdom Road, Weltevreden Park.

Article: Nicholas Zaal ([email protected])

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