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Community get together for dream family challenge

With funnyman Gino Fabbri providing his special brand of entertainment, over 800 runners soaked up the happy vibe when the SPAR Family Challenge completed its third edition in East London earlier this month.

In slightly breezy conditions at the Beaconhurst Sports Grounds, an air of competition was blended with fun as the East London community came out in force to support the Reach for a Dream Foundation.

It resulted in SPAR Eastern Cape presenting the charity organisation's Eastern Cape branch manager Ronell Davel with a cheque of R10 000 to continue their mission of making kids' wishes come true.

In what must surely be some sort of record, the youngest participant, Brooklyn Abrams, checked in at just four weeks old, sleeping all the way through the 5km walk with her mother Monique.

Gonubie businessman Shane Hempel, who said he spent the past 55 years "on the couch", was another to attempt the 5km run for the first time.

"My daughter said I was getting lazy and watching too much TV. She said I must come out and join her.

"So here I am and I enjoyed the experience. It's probably the first time I have run since my army days."

Beacon Bay's Mcumisa Zide, 41, said she got in her fair share of exercise on the day.

"I first ran the park run (5km) so I have done 10km. I can now relax for the rest of the day."

SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and advertising manager Wendy Westraadt said they were delighted to be involved with the East London community once again.

"We put the Family Challenge together because we are all about family, passion and healthy living," she said. "For us this ticks all the right boxes.

"We love the vibe that comes with the race and the East London people are special that way - they have such a tremendous spirit about them."

Westraadt said the SPAR philosophy included giving back to the community and helping Reach for a Dream was all part of that.

"It is such a worthy cause and the more people participate in a race like this, the more we are able to give back to charities that need it."

After running the race last year, Davel found herself on the other side of the fence this time as she took the opportunity to raise awareness of the foundation.

"It's amazing to have SPAR assisting us because they are a countrywide brand," she said. "It's phenomenal that they found time in their busy schedule to even think about supporting us.

"We don't get any funds so we have to generate the money ourselves. We have to be creative to find people to support the foundation."

Davel said the funds would go towards their attempts to realise a dream each working day of the month.

"It takes about R5 000 to do a dream and we try to do 22 a month, while our branch in Mthatha aims at 11 a month. We come very close to achieving our targets."

SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and advertising manager Wendy Westraadt (left) hands over a cheque of R10 000 to Reach for a Dream Eastern Cape branch manager Ronell Davel at the SPAR Family Challenge in East London. With them are SPAR promotions and advertising controller Roseann Shadrach (second from right) and promotions and advertising assistant Debadene Baatjies (extreme right). Photo: Dean Venish

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