There is every reason to celebrate the 29th SPAR Women’s Challenge, which will return to its traditional stomping ground at Pollok Beach in Gqeberha on May 27.
While plenty of fun was had during the Virtual Women’s Challenge at the height of the pandemic, there is nothing better than getting back on the asphalt to revel in the atmosphere and camaraderie of this truly iconic event.
The recipe is the tried and tested: a 10km Challenge and a 5km Fun Run for club and recreational runners and those who soak it all in with a gentle stroll or brisk walk.
The Women’s Challenge again incorporates the prestigious SPAR Grand Prix, in which the cream of South Africa’s runners go head-to-head against international opponents.
The 2023 edition of the marquee road race, which will raise funds to help give autism a voice, enjoys the full backing of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. SPAR EC advertising manager Roseann Shadrach said the brand fed off the belief that “together we are better.” Therefore, the municipality’s involvement could only elevate the event’s status.
“The municipality coming on board for the first time is fantastic. The whole point is that we, as a corporate entity can do much more good in the community with their support.”
Through the Women’s Challenge, SPAR EC recognises Gqeberha-based Autism EC and the Umphanda Foundation for Autism for empowering those in their care while addressing stigmas associated with the condition.
Shadrach said the retailer’s goal was to make a difference in the lives of both children and adults who were impacted by autism.
Nationally, the brand’s campaign for the year is We’re for Smiles. This promise is echoed in the EC retailer’s push to create Forever Smiles among those served by its beneficiaries.
Autism EC chairperson Joan Jorritsma said SPAR’s support came at just the right time as the organisation
had been forced to close its early intervention centre, necessitating people to be placed in facilities such as Aurora’s stimulation centre.
“The support is wonderful as we want to take these programmes forward. The structure, staffing, buildings and training are all at Aurora, so we are working hard to expand our services.”
Early intervention, sensory integration and skills development are the focus areas of The Umphanda Foundation. Here four teachers guide children with the condition through the various programmes.
Umphanda founder Nomakhosazana Dick thanked SPAR for the help. He said monies raised through the country’s Most Beautiful Road Race would go towards setting up its own facility.
Although many reasons exist to support the event, other incentives exist to enter en masse. There are prizes aplenty for those schools, athletics clubs, Nelson Mandela University residences and businesses churning out the highest number of participants.
On top of that, SPAR EC is offering groceries for a year, valued at R30 000, in a lucky draw on race day to celebrate the retailer’s 30th birthday in the province.
The race village at Pollok Beach will sport entertainment and food trucks galore and promises to be a fantastic setting for a family day out.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for; to see people out and about again,” said Shadrach.
Prospective participants can collect entry forms from SPAR stores, The Footballer, Brian Bands, Action Sports, Sportsmans Warehouse and UD Sports (Graaff-Reinet) until May 19.
Online registration – at R150 for the 10km and R75 for the 5km – is at www.soulgoodbookings.co.za.