Prepare for Spar race in August

Henry

The Spar Women’s Challenge is so popular precisely because any woman can take part – fit or unfit.

So says Retha Ingenbleek, sponsorship manager of Spar and the driving force behind the race. Ingenbleek says the race is more than just a race, “this is an event”.

“With the 5 km race, it doesn’t matter how unfit you may be, you can participate.”

The Tshwane leg of the race was launched on Wednesday evening in Pretoria.

The race has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the country’s most famous races.

People can take part in the 5 km race or take on the 10 km race on August 3 at the SuperSport Park Stadium in Centurion. The races start at 14:00.

“This year we limit the entries to 15,000. We keep the entries lower to make sure we give people an experience.”

Ralph Rajagopaul, a marketing manager of Spar, says the race is more than just a race, it is a movement of empowerment, resilience and the celebration of womanhood.

“This year’s theme is #ChooseYou and unlocks the power of women who prioritize themselves, their dreams and their well-being.”

Some of the country’s top athletes and thousands of recreational runners participate annually. The race was first presented in 1996 with only 600 participants registering at the starting point. In 2019 there were more than 25,000 participants in Pretoria.

Ingenbleek says the race was presented at this stadium in Centurion for the first time last year after it was a virtual race from 2020 to 2022. About 90% women and 10% men participate in the race, but men are not eligible for prizes in any lucky draws. The festivities kick off already at 10:00, with great entertainment throughout the day.

Safety is an aspect that organizers “put an incredible amount of effort into”, says Ingenbleek. They work with the Tshwane Metro Police and security companies while designated parking with security is available.

Rajagopaul says that through its sponsorship, Spar is trying to create a platform for women to showcase their strengths and actively contribute to the empowerment of women.

People can register in Spar stores or online. Participants include Olympic athletes, top age group competitors and thousands running for charity and to achieve their own personal goals.