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19 March 2008

History of the race

Supermarket giant SPAR has become synonymous with women’s sport in South Africa, but probably the best known of SPAR’s sporting events is the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge.

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Supermarket giant SPAR has become synonymous with women’s sport in South Africa, but probably the best known of SPAR’s sporting events is the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge.

The most famous of the six races is the Durban Challenge, which started in 1990. SPAR took over the sponsorship in 1991, and the race has grown from strength to strength, with an explosion in the number of competitors. An amazing 16 000 plus women took part in this year’s race.

The success of the Durban Challenge prompted SPAR to introduce the Women’s 10km Challenge to other centres around South Africa. The SPAR Women’s Challenge is now run in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. More than 40 000 women take the challenge around the country each year.

SPAR Recently introduced the SPAR Grand Prix Competition, which allows top local runners and their respective clubs, to score points throughout the series, and be eligible for cash prizes and other rewards at the seasons end.

The Grand Prix aims to consolidate the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge Series as the largest and most prestigious women’s road running event in the country. After the last of the five races in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge Series, a total prize money of R150 000 will be awarded to the top 20 athletes on the Grand Prix leaderboard with the eventual winner receiving a whooping R50 000.

The Joburg SPAR Women's 10km Challenge started in 1992 with a few hundred runners who ran from Old Ed’s in Houghton. The race has grown from strength to strength and saw over 6000 runners participating last year at the Old Parktonian Sports Club in Randburg.

Roelf Venter, Group Marketing Director, says SPAR’s investment in the SPAR Women’s Challenge is part of the Group’s carefully selected sport sponsorships, which have been designed to give back something to its market – South African women from all walks of life.

“The support of South African women has made SPAR one of the biggest supermarket groups in the country, and it is only through their continued support that SPAR will be able to bring bigger, better, more convenient and price-competitive stores into the market,” said Venter.

“SPAR hopes that by sponsoring road-running, women of all shapes and sizes and from all communities will be encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Road-running and walking are both cheap and effective forms of exercise, accessible to all,” says Venter.

Results from the 2007 races

Results of the Joburg SPAR Women's 10 km Challenge 2007:

  • 1st: René Kalmer in 00.36.00
  • 2nd: Annerien van Schalkwyk in 00.36.22
  • 3rd: Marelize Retief in 00.36.59

Results of the Port Elizabeth SPAR Women's 10 km Challenge 2007:

  • 1st: René Kalmer in 00.33.50
  • 2nd: Poppy Mlambo in 00.34.34
  • 3rd: Catherine Nkosi in 00.35.08

Results of the Pretoria SPAR Women's 10 km Challenge 2007:

  • 1st: Sharon Tavengwa in 00.34.58
  • 2nd: Joyce Mwende in 00.35.00
  • 3rd: Louisa Leballo in 00.35.24

Results of the Durban SPAR Women's 10 km Challenge 2007:

  • 1st: René Kalmer in 00.32.54
  • 2nd: Tabitha Tsatsa in 00.33.45
  • 3rd: Poppy Mlambo in 00.34.22.

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