Entries for the 26th SPAR Women’s Challenge, which takes place from Pollok Beach in Port Elizabeth on May 4, are open.
The city’s most popular and “beautiful” road race draws thousands of participants across the 10km and 5km distances every year and the 2019 edition promises a similarly festive occasion.
The PE event will also be the first in the Grand Prix Series, which was introduced in 2007 to add a competitive edge to the racing. Five other legs take place in major centres across the country between May and October.
The feature event will be preceded by the 2.5km SPAR Kids’ Challenge on May 1. This fun run is aimed at youngsters aged 12 years and under.
SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said the Women’s Challenge, which was launched in Durban in 1992 before the PE race was added the following year, compared favourably with the best road races in South Africa.
“The SPAR Women’s Challenge has developed into a brand which ranks with the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons as some of the country’s most iconic road races,” he said.
“It is an event that has become an integral part of Nelson Mandela Bay’s running calendar and it has a unique flavour that speaks directly to women.”
As the first leg of the national series, he added it would give local runners a chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the country’s leading middle and long-distance runners.
The day’s entertainment will include performances by local artists and lucky draws.
Stapleton said one lucky participant would walk away with a year’s supply of free groceries, courtesy of SPAR EC.
He added that the retailer would again be aligning the race with its STOP Plastic campaign.
“We want to continue the drive to create awareness of the need to re-think how each one of us uses and re-uses plastic. And, where possible, we want to encourage people to look at alternative products.”
Entries for the 10km cost R100 for non-licenced athletes and R60 for licenced runners, while licenced participants over 65 can run free of charge. Entries for the 5km is R60.
The first 8 000 pre-entrants will receive T-shirt vouchers, which are redeemable at registration. All finishers in the 10km and 5km races will receive medals.
Online entries close on April 27 while manual entries can be handed in at The Footballer, Brian Bands, Action Sports (Summerstand and Walmer) and Sportsmans Warehouse until May 1.