SPAR Virtual challenge

There will be no limits on fun when SPAR’s annual women’s challenge makes a welcome return to the Eastern Cape roadrunning calendar this year.

After the disappointment of the Covid-enforced cancellation in 2020, SPAR EC promotions and events manager Alan Stapleton was excited to announce the staging of the SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge at the official launch at Algoa FM in Port Elizabeth last night.

The mass-participation event is set to take place around the country on September 4. Entries opened on May 26 and more than 5 000 runners have already signed up for South Africa’s most beautiful road race.

With the tagline of #LiveLimitless, Stapleton felt it would be the perfect way to “celebrate everything that is exceptional about women” in an event that first took place in 1990.

“From those humble beginnings, with about 200 to 300 runners, this has evolved into something very special; from a race to a challenge which attracts 100 000 to 120 000 entrants in the six regions,” he said.

“The goal is to celebrate the beauty of women, the power of women and the courage of women.”

Stapleton said it had become an event where wives, mothers and daughters could run together while having fun.

“Importantly, it’s also an opportunity for husbands and sons to support the event so it becomes a family affair, and that is key to what we are all about as we continue to grow the SPAR family.”

SPAR Virtual challenge

Celebrating the launch of the SPAR Virtual Women’s Challenge which will take place around the country were, from left, back, Alec Riddle (ambassador), Jeanie Steyn (ambassador), Mercy Cwayi (On Eagle’s Wings beneficiary), SPAR EC promotions and events manager Alan Stapleton, Dr Lesley-Ann Foster (Masimanyane beneficiary), Yolanda Bukani (ambassador), and front, Rebecca Nyangaresi-Gatang’i (ambassador), Gino Fabbri (ambassador) and Bianka La Mude (ambassador). The specially selected ambassadors will promote the event on a range of media platforms. Photo: Supplied

While women were challenged to break down barriers and reach new heights, Stapleton said it allowed the retailer to realise its commitment to society, pledging R100 000 to beneficiaries Masimanyane and On Eagle’s Wings.

“It goes back to one of SPAR’s pillars, which is to support the communities in which we operate.”

SPAR EC managing director Angelo Swartz emphasised the focus in community involvement.

“We have a big role to play in society and as a food company we obviously focus on food poverty, while we also believe it’s important to provide hope to our communities,” he said.

“Women play such an important role with their passion for entrepreneurship and they have inspired many to follow that path.

“This event is important to us because it is the epitome of what we see in terms of supporting women and family. Our purpose is to bring family together and to support the causes in our community.”

Subject to lockdown regulations, women can run or walk their own race on their own route over any distance on September 4.

Entrants will receive a confirmation email in which access will be provided to this year’s digital magazine.

South African entrants will receive a virtual challenge pack containing a race T-shirt, buff and medal. This can be collected from their chosen SPAR store or delivered to a chosen address (at an additional cost).

Entries close on August 15, with the cut-off at 75 000 participants.

For guidance on entries and more event information, visit