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SPAR Women’s Challenge Jozi encourages women to run #4Smiles

Babies born with cleft lips and palates, and women with breast cancer, will benefit from the race this year.

You will always have a reason to smile and the power to make another person smile.

This was the message at the colourful and energetic SPAR Women’s Challenge Jozi launch. The annual event has been virtual for the past three years, so there was plenty of reason to celebrate when elite and casual athletes, beneficiaries from charities, stakeholders and the media gathered at Levelthree Premium Venue, Kramerville, on July 20.

Morne Dreyer and Erich Eichstadt. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Morne Dreyer and Erich Eichstadt. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

They marked the return of ‘Joburg’s most beautiful race’ with bouquets, live music by Jazz Essay Live and as always, scrumptious food. Race and draw prizes are bigger than ever as if the social aspect of it was not enough reason to sign up.

The 5km and 10km events will be held at Marks Park Sports Club on October 1. Entries can be made online at www.sparwomensjozi.co.za

Bessie Tselapedi and Vinny Manaka. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Bessie Tselapedi and Vinny Manaka. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The highlight for many at the launch was the focus on the charities that will benefit from the proceeds of the run. Nine-year-old, Princess Mchunu was given the microphone to discuss being born with a cleft lip and palate. She spoke of how it did not define her beauty, and how she wanted to be a plastic surgeon when she grew up so she could also help people.

“For those with a cleft lip there is nothing wrong with you,” she said. “Actually, it makes you even more special.”

Gerda van Schalkwyk and Retha Ingenbleek. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Gerda van Schalkwyk and Retha Ingenbleek. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Her mother, Sylvia, is an ambassador for the run. She thanked Smile Foundation and SPAR for funding the R25 000 procedures many children such as her daughter have to have so they can smile.

Breast cancer support group Reach for Recovery’s Beulah Jankelowitz also discussed the support and non-medical advice they provided to breast cancer survivors and their families.

Para athlete Luzanne Coetzee and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Para athlete Luzanne Coetzee and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

“The silicone prosthesis we provide helps women retain their confidence and walk tall,” she said. “We are so grateful to SPAR for choosing us as one of the beneficiaries.”

Central Gauteng Athletics vice president Karabo Mabilo and SPAR South Rand marketing director Charleen Goschen both spoke on the significance of the race as one that empowers women to have fun and be healthy and active in a safe environment. “It is the only race where you see women put their lipstick and make-up on before they run,” Mabilo said. “The event is all about community and friendships.”

SPAR South Rand marketing director Charleen Goschen, Louzanne Coetszee and Marlene Gunter. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
SPAR South Rand marketing director Charleen Goschen, Louzanne Coetszee and Marlene Gunter. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

They explained that the change in the name of the run was to keep up with a vibrant and ever-changing Joburg.

Blind runner Louzanne Coetzee, who was fresh from winning a silver medal in the 1 500m World Para Athletics Championships in France (South Africa’s first medal at the championships) the week before, said she was going to run her first SPAR race.

Ashtyn Mackenzie receives a prize for tweeting up a storm, from Jenny Griesel, Cornel Steyn and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Ashtyn Mackenzie receives a prize for tweeting up a storm, from Jenny Griesel, Cornel Steyn and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

“I don’t know the route but I have heard much about it,” she said. “I am going to give it my all.”

SPAR Grand Prix

On the elite running side, the annual 10km run series, the SPAR Grand Prix, has set up an exciting finale.

Para athlete Luzanne Coetzee and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Para athlete Luzanne Coetzee and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Four races have been completed and only Tshwane (August 5) and Joburg (October 1) remain. The only two women in contention to win this year are both Ethiopian and runners representing Nedbank Running Club. While Selam Gebre is in the lead, defending champion Tadu Nare is expected to win the whole thing even though she sits fourth on the log.

This is because of the rule that the final points table only includes the top four results of the season. Nare has only run three of the four races but has won them all with maximum points. Another win at either of the remaining races will likely see her victory, especially if she can earn a bonus point for meeting the target time in one of the races.

Chanté Hansen and Liezel Hermanus. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Chanté Hansen and Liezel Hermanus. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

Glenrose Xaba (Boxer Athletic Club) and Lesotho runner Bandina Makatisi (Maxed Elite) are third and fourth on the log respectively.

Mlungisi Makhedama of Jazz Essay Live. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Mlungisi Makhedama of Jazz Essay Live. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
SPAR inland advertising and promotions manager Maxine D'Amico and SPAR South Rand marketing director Charleen Goschen. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
SPAR inland advertising and promotions manager Maxine D’Amico and SPAR South Rand marketing director Charleen Goschen. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Christine Kalmer, René Kalmer and Roxanne Martin. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Christine Kalmer, René Kalmer and Roxanne Martin. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Marleé van der Merwe and Jenny Griesel. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Marleé van der Merwe and Jenny Griesel. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
SPAR race ambassador and former winner, Kesa Molotsane discusses what she takes from the run each year Photo: Nicholas Zaal
SPAR race ambassador and former winner, Kesa Molotsane discusses what she takes from the run each year Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Aimee McGill receives a prize for tweeting up a storm, from Jenny Griesel, Cornel Steyn and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Aimee McGill receives a prize for tweeting up a storm, from Jenny Griesel, Cornel Steyn and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Warrior Ric and Cian Oldknow. Photo: NIcholas Zaal
Warrior Ric and Cian Oldknow. Photo: NIcholas Zaal
Odette Vass, Nomsa Ngubeni and Khathu Madisha. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Odette Vass, Nomsa Ngubeni and Khathu Madisha. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Kamo Matsoso of Jazz Essay Live. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Kamo Matsoso of Jazz Essay Live. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Marlene Gunter, Norman Dawe and Dejané Poil. Photo: Nicholas Zaal
Marlene Gunter, Norman Dawe and Dejané Poil. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

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