Spar set to host Women’s Virtual Challenge road race

Six-city Women’s Challenge series races that make up the Women’s Grand Prix were cancelled.

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Spar on Wednesday announced it will host the Women’s Virtual Challenge road race on September 26.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, six-city Women’s Challenge series races that make up the Women’s Grand Prix were cancelled.

However, despite the cancellation of the series, women who would normally be taking part in the races will be able to enter the Women’s Virtual Challenge in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Free State, North West and Northern Cape with limited entries available for interested women in Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal.

Women of all ages can run or walk any distance between 5km and 10km between 6 am and 6 pm, and then post about their experiences on any social media platform, using the hashtags #BeSunshine or #SPARVirtualChallenge.

“2020 was meant to be a year of celebration, as we marked 30 years of our involvement in women’s road running,” said Spar Group Marketing Executive Mike Prentice.

“We know that thousands of women look forward to taking part in the Spar Women’s Challenge races and their associated Fun Runs each year, and so we have decided to run a virtual challenge to give women something to look forward to and a motive to exercise,” said Prentice.

“We also want to try to set a Guinness world record for the biggest women’s virtual challenge. Our target is 30 000 entries.

“We will also be giving hope and assisting survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) at the same time. GBV is a scourge in South African society and appears to have worsened during the national lockdown. We at Spar want to do something to help the survivors, and all the money received from entry fees will be used to help them,” he said.

Entry to the Women’s Virtual Challenge is R50, and for every entry, Spar will donate a food parcel to a GBV survivor. Jacaranda FM’s Good Morning Angels will coordinate the distribution of the food parcels. Each entrant will also receive a limited-edition race t-shirt, a lightweight buff and a race magazine.

There will be thirty ambassadors including Rene Kalmer, who has been running in the Women’s Challenge 10km races for more than half her life and is also the first to win three Grand Prix titles.

“I love the Sunshine theme,” said Kalmer.

“The Spar Women’s Virtual Challenge colour yellow is a symbolisation of happiness, optimism and positivity. These have been dark days and we all need a little sunshine. It is also time for the athletes to give back to Spar, who have supported us for the past 30 years. My fellow athletes and I will give the Spar Women’s Virtual Challenge our full support.”

“I am pregnant and will be well into my pregnancy by September 26, so I will be shuffling rather than running, but you can bet my family and I will be taking part and spreading some sunshine,” said Kalmer.

In partnership with  ANA and Sports Leo

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