Gino SPAR Women's Challenge

The SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge will feature an added dimension after organisers added a “real stadium experience” to the virtual aspect when it takes place in Gqeberha on September 3.

Due to lockdown rules, the Grand Prix Series 10km Challenge was run separately from the shorter fun run. The latter was changed to a virtual event to accommodate the throngs of participants that annually take to the streets to celebrate life alongside family, friends and colleagues.

With the lifting of restrictions, people can once again run in groups and therefore locals are invited to gather at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the Saturday.

Those who have already entered can still run in their own time at a venue suited to them, according to SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton.

He said the family retailer was delighted to once again present a “real experience” with a 4.5km event that takes place entirely within the stadium precinct.

Women’s Virtual Challenge entrants will be able to get up close and personal with the iconic stadium, which was constructed to host matches during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The route will take them up and down concourses, around the field and along adjacent areas.

Stapleton added that the first 4 000 entrants would receive race packs, which must be collected at the Old Grey Sports Club in Lennox Street between 9am and 6pm from August 30 to September 1.

It includes an event-specific T-shirt, matching buff, medal, drawstring bag and a copy of the My Virtual Challenge Magazine.

Gino SPAR Women's Challenge

SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge ambassador and entertainer Gino Fabbri shows off the magazine which will form part of the race pack for the 4.5km run at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on September 3. Online entries close on August 29. Photo: Supplied

There will again be a major focus on assisting the needy in the community, with the Petals Project this year’s beneficiary.

“Across South Africa, thousands of girls miss as many as five days of school each month because of a lack of access to sanitary pads during their monthly cycles,” Stapleton said. “In some cases, they even drop out of school.”

He said the entry fee of R120 would be channelled to the Petals Project which, in partnership with various other charities, donated sanitary pads to help schoolgirls rise above these challenges.

For the stadium experience, enter at or by August 29.