Thousands to take part in Spar women's 10KM Challenge

athletics20 March 2024 09:20
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More than 14 000 women will take to the streets of Cape Town on Sunday (24 March 2024) for the SPAR Women’s Challenge incorporating the SPAR Grand Prix at the Greenpoint Stadium precedent.

2024 marks the 35th edition of the SPAR Women’s Challenge series, which is run in seven centres around South Africa, bringing together top runners as well as women who take part for the fun of participating in a race that is only for women.

The top runners are competing for SPAR Grand Prix points, with the ultimate winner taking home a magnificent R200 000. The SPAR Grand Prix, now in its 17th year, includes races from five cities – Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Tshwane and Johannesburg. The other challenges, in Mbombela and Pietermaritzburg, are not included in the SPAR Grand Prix.

There is also a special incentive for South African runners. The South African woman with the most SPAR Grand Prix points will receive an additional R75 000, the second placed South African R50 000 and the third placed South African R30 000.

In addition, this year, the top South African in the SPAR Grand Prix series will be given the use of a new Proton SUV X50 for a year. She will receive the keys to the car at the SPAR Grand Prix Awards ceremony and return them at the ceremony next year.

There will be a strong field on Sunday, although some of South Africa’s top runners are not available, as they are taking part in the African Games in Ghana.

The defending SPAR Grand Prix champion, three-times winner Tadu Nare of Ethiopia and her Nedbank teammate Selam Gebre will miss the opening race this year, but Nedbank International manager Nick Bester says they will take part in some of the other races.

“We are building a new Nedbank Ethiopian team,” said Bester.

“We have entered two juniors, Diniya Kedir Abaraya and Getenesh Agafaw, and will use the SPAR races to develop them into world-class athletes like Tadu and Salem.”

Abaraya has a personal best of 32:03 set in Durban last year, and Agafaw has a personal best of 32:46, set in Tshwane, and will provide the South African runners with strong competition.

The line-up will include former SPAR Grand Prix winners like Glenrose Xaba (Boxer), Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies AC) and the Phalula twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang, (Boxer)

Xaba, who is the last South African to win the SPAR Grand Prix, is in blistering form. She won the South Africa 10km earlier this month at altitude in a quick 33:00. She also won the Gauteng North 10000m Championship in a fast 32:06.

Another Boxer Runner, Cacisile Sosibo who finished 3rd in the SA 10km Championship behind Glenrose Xaba has also entered Cape Town and is expected to put up a good show on Sunday.

Both Xaba and Sosibo will be traveling to Belgrade, Serbia next week for the World Cross Country Championships.

The evergreen Phalula twins, Lebo and Lebogang will be running in the 40+ category for the very first time. Both are in peak form, both finishing in the top 10 in the SA 10km Senior category with Lebogang winning the 40+.

The route is flat and fast times can be expected.

SPAR National PR, Communications & Sponsorships Manager Mpudi Maubane says SPAR is particularly proud of the role it is playing in the promotion and development of women’s sport.

“SPAR believes that sport sponsorships provide athletes with much needed financial support and greater visibility, which can help to level the playing field and promote gender equality in sport” said Maubane. “The SPAR Women’s Challenge incorporating the SPAR Grand Prix is essential for creating a more inclusive and diverse environment. Historically, women have been under-represented in sport and although women’s sports have come a long way, there is still a long way to go to achieve equality and recognition for female athletes. We are very proud of the part we are playing to achieve that.”