SPAR Women's Challenge

With masks gone and social isolation a distant memory, it is time to lace up those running shoes because the SPAR Women’s Challenge is coming to a beachfront near you on May 27.

Entries for the Gqeberha leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge, which incorporates the Grand Prix Series for elite athletes, open on Friday, April 7, and in the best possible way.

As the title sponsor of Nelson Mandela Bay’s Splash Festival, SPAR Eastern Cape is leveraging the popular Easter event at Kings Beach to promote the first post-Covid Women’s Challenge.

The family retailer will take the road run to the people by setting up a registration hub at Splash, where festivalgoers can get information or enter the 29th running of the iconic event.

Those who enter on the spot for South Africa’s Most Beautiful Road Race, which takes place at Pollok Beach this year, will walk away with their race numbers and T-shirts.

At the hub, entrants will also be able to have their picture taken in the 360-degree photo booth alongside their favourite media personality.

When the pandemic hit, professional runners were forced to compete in a watered down version of the Grand Prix Series, where each regional event is run over 10km.

At the same time, fun runners were asked to take to their neighbourhood roads in isolated groups in the Virtual Women’s Challenge.

SPAR Women's Challenge

The SPAR Women’s Challenge is returning to its original format after three years, with thousands of runners from across the country expected to turn out for South Africa’s Most Beautiful Road Race at Pollok Beach on May 27. Photo: Leon Hugo

“The Women’s Challenge has always been the biggest event on our calendar and we are excited that it’s going back to the road and not happening in small pockets,” said SPAR EC advertising manager Roseann Shadrach.

“It’s also going to be bigger and better because we are celebrating our 30th birthday in the Eastern Cape.”

SPAR’s provincial campaign this year is Forever Smiles and the Women’s Challenge has been delivering in this regard forever and a day. Participants and the public can follow this happy story at #4Smiles.

There will be great prizes for those schools, athletics clubs, Nelson Mandela University residences and businesses that submit the highest number of entries.

Residents will also want to make sure they get down to the race because SPAR is offering a lucky draw prize of groceries for a year, valued at R30 000, to celebrate its three decades in the province.

“We want people to come out in their numbers to support the Women’s Challenge,” said Shadrach.

“We want to see the dads dressing up and bringing the gees. We want the moms with their kiddies in prams. We want the brothers and sisters. We want the families.”

The race village on the grass area at Pollok Beach will sport lots of entertainment and food trucks and promises to create an amazing day out for the family.

Runners and walkers who prefer to register manually for the 5km and 10km events can collect entry forms from SPAR stores, The Footballer, Brian Bands, Action Sports, Sportsmans Warehouse and UD Sports (Graaff-Reinet) until May 19.