Don’t be surprised if you recognise a few faces or voices in the build-up to the 30th SPAR Women’s Challenge this year.
That’s because some of Nelson Mandela Bay’s brightest and bubbliest have signed on to promote South Africa’s Most Beautiful Road Race, taking place at Gqeberha’s Pollok Beach on May 28.
Umholobo Wenene’s Mafa Bavuma, Kingfisher FM’s Shereez Hartzenburg, Tru FM’s Sinazo Yolwa, The Herald’s Luchae Williams and SPAR Eastern Cape’s advertising manager Roseann Shadrach are using their profile in the city to rally women and families to get behind the race.
Whether it’s on the radio or via their social media platforms, the vibrant personalities will drive home the message that the Women’s Challenge is all about helping others, living healthily and having lots of fun.
The 2023 edition is raising awareness for autism and benefiting two organisations – Autism Eastern Cape and the Umphanda Foundation for Autism.
For Hartzenburg, being named an ambassador was especially pleasing, since many members of her family had worked for the retailer.
“The brand almost encapsulates us as a family,” she noted.
She loved that the Women’s Challenge brought people together while they also took part for the greater good of the community.
“When you gather for an event like this, it shows what we, as women and the city, are capable of,” she said.
“I think before Covid we took the ability to get out, run, walk or smell the fresh air for granted.”
Bavuma admitted to getting “goosebumps” over his role as, amid the challenges faced by South African women, events like the SPAR Women’s Challenge showed that support was always available to them.
He also believed it put Gqeberha in a positive light.
“It not only creates awareness but puts the city on the map. So much bad stuff happens so we need positive events like these.
“After Covid, we definitely need each other.”
Yolwa had relocated to Gqeberha from Johannesburg a year ago and, although she found it “very different”, was loving the city’s “laid-back” lifestyle and, of course, the beaches.
“I love it! What I do find is that people here tend to only join in at the last minute, so I am using my show and social media platforms to encourage them to enter as soon as possible.”
Like Hartzenburg, the Tru FM presenter believed events that allowed people to enjoy themselves would always have a positive impact.
Williams, an award-winning parenting blogger and digital sales account manager at The Herald, said this year’s event was special for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, we haven’t been able to have a proper in-person Challenge for three years. Now that Covid restrictions have been removed, we know there will be thousands of ladies flocking to Summerstrand,” said the mother of five.
“Secondly, the focus is on autism. As a parenting blogger there are many conversations about autism online, so it’s wonderful that SPAR has zoned in on something that is a concern for those parents.”
Shadrach was hoping to see huge numbers turning out for the 10km and 5km events.
“Our theme #4Smiles has the underlying message of running together and supporting each other. As a brand, we are thankful that we are back for the 30th SPAR Women’s Challenge and in a position to be a blessing to women and our beneficiaries.”
Runners and walkers who wish to register manually can obtain entry forms from SPAR stores in the Eastern Cape, The Footballer, Brian Bands, Action Sports as well as UD Sports.
Bulk entries can be done by contacting Walmer Athletics Club on 063 665 3518.
Alternatively, they can register online at SPAR Woman’s Challenge on www.sparwomensrace.co.za.
Entries, which close at midnight on May 19, are R150 for the 10km and R70 for the 5km.